Key to Umbria: Orvieto

Sant’ Antonio Abate  (1492)

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This church and monastery belonged to the Canons Regular of St Antony of Vienne (the name given to St Antony Abbot after his relics were taken to Vienne in 960).  This order was dedicated to the care of the sick, and the complex at Orvieto included an adjacent hospice. 

The church was first documented in 1350.  In 1483, a box known as “il Tamuro” was installed here so that informers could anonymously denounce blasphemers, cheats and sodomites.  The Conservatori della Pace gave permission for the rebuilding of the church in 1492.

The complex was suppressed in 1860 and reported to be in ruins in a guide published in 1896.  Until the end of the Second World War, people brought their animals to the piazza outside the church on the feast of St Antony Abbot for a blessing.  The church has since been converted for use as a gymnasium.  

St Antony Abbot enthroned (ca. 1493)

This altarpiece, which still survives in its lovely Renaissance frame on the back wall is attributed to Antonio da Viterbo, il Pastura.  The inscription identifies the patron as Bernardino Augustino, the first “praeceptor”, who had laid the foundation stone in 1493.  Laura Guidi di Bagno  has been identified him as a Servite who had left the Servite convent after a disagreement there.

In the central scene of the altarpiece, St Antony raises his right hand in blessing.  The scene in the lunette depicts the Madonna and Child with angels.   There were also narrative scenes below the central panel, but these are now illegible.

Read more:

The church is described and the altarpiece is discussed and illustrated in:

  1. L. Guidi di Bagno, “La Pittura del Tardo Quattrocento e Inizi del Cinquecento nelle Chiese e nei Palazzi di Orvieto”, in

  2. C. Benocci et al. (Eds), “Storia di Orvieto: Quattrocento e Cinquecento” (2010) Pisa, Volume II (pp 417-9)

Return to Monuments of Orvieto.

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