Key to Umbria: Foligno

This chapel to the left of the facade is sometimes said to be the  the oldest part of the church, dating the 7th or 8th century.   However, according to Paola Guerrini and Francesca Latini (referenced below, at pp. 299-300, entry 77) its walls date to ca. 1100 and are not markedly different from the oldest walls of the main part of the church.

It is in the form of a rectangle, oriented at 90° to the main body of the church church.

The original facade of the chapel is now immediately on the left as you enter the church.  (This photograph is taken from the right aisle, with the main entrance to the church on the left and the entrance to the chapel ahead). 

The inscription above the entrance, which was placed here in 1855, claims that:

  1. SS Peter and Paul received hospitality and celebrated the sacred mysteries in this suburban temple; and

  2. that St Crispolitus, a disciple of St Peter and the first bishop of Foligno and Bettona, consecrated what had been a temple to Diana as a church dedicated to the Virgin in 58 AD.


The small monofore window in the left wall, which is visible in the photograph above, is original.

So too are two bifore windows in the right wall, one of which has been exposed during the recent restoration.  (To see it, walk through the arch to the left of the chapel).


The original barrel vault of the chapel survives.

Frescoes of the Altar Wall (12th century)

The frescoes in a niche in the altar wall had been bricked up and were rediscovered in 1855.  They depict Christ blessing with SS Peter and Paul, above a painted tapestry with lions in tondi.

Frescoes in the Bifore Window (12th century)


These frescoes on the right, to the sides of the bifore window nearest the altar, depict:

  1. a Seraph (badly damaged), on the left; and

  2. a figure identified by inscription as “Dimas latro” (the good thief), on the right.

Frescoes in the niche in the left wall (date?)

These frescoes in this niche depict the Madonna and Child with SS Peter (on the right) and Paul.

Art from the Chapel

Madonna and Child Enthroned (early 13th century)

This polychrome wooden statue is one of the oldest such works to survive in Umbria.  By the time that it was restored in 1962, the figure of the Madonna had already lost its arms, and its head had been damaged by the insertion of pegs to hold a crown.  The figure of the baby Jesus was stolen soon afterwards.  The surviving part of the statue is now in the Museo Diocesano.

Read more:

P. Guerrini and F. Latini, “Foligno: Dal Municipium Romano alla Civitas Medievale: Archeologia e Storia di una Città Umbra”, (2012) Spoleto

Return to the main page on Santa Maria Infraportas


Cappella dell’ Assunta, Santa Maria Infraportas 

Umbria:  Home   Cities    History    Art    Hagiography    Contact 


Foligno:  Home    History    Art    Saints    Walks    Monuments   Museums

Santa Maria Infraportas:     Main page      Cappella dell’ Assunta