Key to Umbria: Foligno

The Commune commissioned this oratory after a miraculous event in 1489 that involved a fresco of the Annunciation on the exterior of the house of Nicolò di Giacomo.  Bishop Luca Borsciani Cibo, who was a Servite and thus dedicated to the cult of the Virgin, consecrated the oratory in 1494. 

The Renaissance design of the original oratory is attributed to Francesco di Bartolomeo da Pietrasanta.  

The oratory was remodelled in 1830 to designs by Vincenzo Vitali that survive in the archives of the Cathedral Chapter.  Its main room, which was originally divided into two, took on its present appearance at that time.

The door on the right in the illustration to the right above above leads to the adjacent sacristy.


The oratory is rectangular in plan, with two niches for altars on the back wall and on each sidewall. Bishop Porfirio Feliciani deconsecrated two of them  in 1621 (see below).

Altare dell’ Annunziata

This altar is on the left of the back wall.

Virgin Annunciate (15th century)

This half-length figure was part of the miraculous fresco of the Annunciation that prompted the building of the oratory.  This fresco was detached and enclosed in a gilded wooden tabernacle [when?].  Unfortunately, the figure of the announcing angel was subsequently lost.

Frescoes (1575) 

These frescoes, which form the backdrop to the tabernacle, are dated by inscription.  They depict

  1. God the Father in the lunette; and

  2. the Holy Spirit above the tabernacle, with St Felician and the Blessed Peter Crisci to the sides. 

They are variously attributed to Giovanni Antonio Pandolfi da Pesaro or Ercole Ramazzani.

Altare di San Giovanni Battista

This altar on the right side of the back wall bears the arms of Giovanni Battista Morganti, which depict a couple of swans.

Baptism of Christ (1507)

The surviving part of the inscription on this fresco records that Giovanni Battista Morganti commissioned it.  The rest of the inscription, which was still legible in the 19th century, recorded the date and the fact that it was the work of Perugino

The main scene of the baptism of Christ is set in a landscape and witnessed by angels.  God the Father looks down on the scene from the lunette above. 

Altare del Crocifisso

This altar on the left wall replaced the Altare di San Roch in 1621.

Crucified Christ (17th century)

This polychrome wooden crucifix was believed to provide protection at times of plague.

Fresco (ca. 1626)

This fresco backdrop , which was first documented in 1643, depicts the Virgin and SS John the Evangelist and Mary Magdalene around the cross, with angels in the lunette above.  The fresco is attributed to the French artist Noel Quillerier, the author of documented works in Foligno in 1626.

Altare della Madonna di Loreto

This altar is on the right wall.


The Sacristy houses the press that was used in used 1472 to print the first copies of Dante's Divine Comedy in a workshop that stood on this site Palazzo Orfini.

Pietà (16th century) 

This damaged fresco above the altar in the sacristy, which is attributed to Giannicola di Paolo, depicts the dead Christ with the Virgin and SS John the Evangelist and Mary Magdalene.  The attribution is relatively recent. 

Art from the Oratory


                                                                 St Roch                            St Michael

As noted above, Bishop Porfirio Feliciani reduced the number of altars in the oratory from six to four in 1621.  Two panels from the deconsecrated altars are now in the Pinacoteca Civica:

  1. a panel (1497) from the Altare di San Rocco, which depicts St Roch showing the plague sore on his thigh to a kneeling donor, and which is dated by inscription; and

  2. a panel (late 15th century) from the Altare di San Rocco, which depicts St Michael killing the devil, and which is attributed to Lattanzio di Nicolò.

Read more:

G. Benazzi (Ed.), “Pietro Perugino e il Santuario della Nunziatella a Foligno”, (2005) Foligno

Return to the page on Monuments of Foligno.

Return to Walk I.


Oratorio della Nunziatella (1494) 

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