Key to Umbria: Spello

The Oratorio di San Biagio has its own page in this website.

Chiesa dell’ Ospedale (1715)

This church and the adjacent hospice belonged to the Confraternita della Nuova Unione, which was formed by the merger of four confraternities (below):

  1. the Confraternita di San Bernardino;

  2. the Confraternity di San Giacomo;

  3. the Confraternita di Santa Maria della Misericordia; and

  4. the Confraternity di San Michele Arcangelo.

The new church was built on the site of the ancient Chiesa di San Giovanni Decollato, and incorporated the Oratorio di Santa Croce (below) as its sacristy.

The complex passed to the Congregazione della Carità in 1860.

Roman Domus (2nd century AD)

During the work to adapt the complex for residential use in 1952, part of the mosaic floor of a Roman house was discovered.  More of this structure awaits excavation under Via dei Due Ponti.  Part of the mosaic contains a polychrome representation of two pairs of birds.  The surviving mosaic fragments were restored in 2003.  This photograph is from an exhibit in the Museo Archeologico, Perugia.

Oratorio di Santa Croce (ca. 1346)

This oratory belonged to the Compagnia della Croce, which was probably established in memory of a miracle that occurred (according to tradition) in 1346, when the factions of Spello fought a battle under the nearby Torre dell’ Olmo (demolished in 1457).  This conflict ended abruptly when a cross of fire appeared in the sky, and the erstwhile enemies made peace.  (In later versions of the legend, the fight occurred at the instigation of a vicious old lady called Gabrina.) 

The Compagnia della Croce merged with the nearby Confraternita di Santa Maria della Misericordia (see below) in 1386.

The Oratorio di Santa Croce stood next to the Chiesa di San Giovanni Decollato.  When the latter was rebuilt as Chiesa dell’ Ospedale (see below) in 1715, the oratory was incorporated as its  sacristy.

Processional banner (15th century)

This double-sided banner, which belonged to the Compagnia della Croce and the Confraternita della Misericordia, came from the Oratorio di Santa Croce.  It is attributed to Pietro di Giovanni Mazzaforte.

  1. The Madonna della Misericordia on the front of the banner is badly damaged.

  2. The reverse shows the miracle of the apparition of a cross above Spello: figures of Christ and the Virgin  flank the Torre dell’ Olmo looking up at a fiery cross held by angels.  Two young men at the foot of the tower (presumably erstwhile combatants) also look up, amazed at the spectacle. 

This banner is now in the Pinacoteca Comunale.  [It was in restoration in 2009].

Oratorio di San Bernardino (15th Century)

This oratory belonged to the Confraternita di San Bernardino, which (according to tradition) St Bernardino of Siena established when he preached in Spello in 1444.  The confraternity and its hospice were merged with three others in 1715 - see the Chiesa dell’ Ospedale above. 

The oratory has been adapted for residential use.  Its facade, which was rebuilt in the 18th century, preserves the original portal.

There is an interesting fresco of St Bernardino in the tympanum.

Madonna and Child with saints (1503)

This detached fresco of the Madonna and Child with SS Jerome and Bernardino of Siena i was detached from the oratory early in the 20th century and is now in the Pinacoteca Comunale.   The fresco is attributed to Andrea d’ Assisi, l’Ingegno; the date 1503 was probably inscribed on it at the time that it was detached. 

Osteriaccia and Oratorio di San Giacomo

The so-called Osteriaccia seems to have been established in the 13th century on the road from Spello to Perugia to provide support for pilgrims travelling between Rome and Santiago di Compostella.  (The reason for its unusual name has been lost). It became the property of the Confraternita di San Giacomo.  The confraternity built another hospice and an oratory inside the city walls in 1386.

Osteriaccia (ca. 1560-71)

The confraternity began the rebuilding of their hospice outside Spello in 1560, and it was still in construction during the Apostolic Visit of 1571.   

A medieval sarcophagus has been used as part of a fountain to the right of the facade.

Oratorio di San Giacomo (1386)

The Abbazia di San Benedetto al Subasio built a hospice for pilgrims at the north end of what is now Largo Mazzini in 1296.  It passed to the Confraternita di San Giacomo, which built an adjacent oratory in 1386.  [The arches of the portico (15th century) of the hospice survive].

The hospice was closed in 1571.  The confraternity survived until 1715, when it was merged with three others (see the Chiesa dell’ Ospedale above).  The oratory was deconsecrated in 1773.  

The complex was incorporated into the Collegio Vitale Rosi in 1832 and was subsequently adapted as a junior school.  Parts of the ex-hospice passed into private ownership in 1990 and now house:

  1. Bar Tullia (6 Largo Mazzini);

  1. Ristorante il Pinturcicchio (8 Largo Mazzini); and

  1. the Residence San Jacopo (holiday apartments in 1 Via Borgo di Via Giulia).

The Biblioteca Comunale Giacomo Prampolini has occupied part of the complex, including the ex-oratory, since 2007. 

Madonna and Child with saints (1594) 

This altarpiece in what is now the Biblioteca Comunale Giacomo Prampolini, which survives from the Chiesa di San Giacomo, is attributed to Ascensidonio Spacca, il Fantino.  It depicts the Madonna and Child in glory, with SS Mary Magdalene, James and Catherine of Alexandria below. 

It was while executing this commission in 1594 that il Fantino was called to Sant’ Andrea to sketch an ancient image of the Blessed Andrew Caccioli that was believed to be above his tomb: the image itself was destroyed in order that the relics could be retrieved and formally recognised.  Il Fantino provided this information in his evidence in the process for the canonisation of the  Blessed  Andrew in 1625-7.

Oratorio della Misericordia (1359)

This was the seat of the Confraternita della Misericordia (or dei Raccomandati di Santa Maria), which was formed in 1348 and had its original seat on what became the site of the Rocca Baglioni.  The confraternity built their new oratory here when their original one was demolished to make way for the Rocca, and administered the nearby hospital that the Commune built in 1360. 

The Confraternita di Santa Maria della Misericordia merged with the nearby Compagnia della Croce (see above) in 1386. The resulting confraternity and its hospice were merged with three others in 1715 (see the Chiesa dell’ Ospedale above).

The oratory passed into private ownership in the 19th century.

Santa Maria della Misericordia (15th century)

This ruined fresco is on the external wall, above and to the left of the entrance.  (Other, presumably contemporary frescoes on this wall are now illegible.

Madonna and Child with saints (1522) 

An inscription records that maestro Valentino di Trevi commissioned this fresco in the niche of the altar wall, and records the date.  The fresco depicts:

  1. the Madonna and Child with SS Felix and Antony Abbot;

  2. God the Father and two angels in the lunette above; and

  3. to the sides:

  4. the figures of the Annunciation; and

  5. two representations of St Catherine of Alexandria.

Crucifixion ( 1562)

This fresco on the right wall is signed by Michelangelo Carducci di Norcia and dated by inscription.

Other Frescoes

These depict:

  1. on the altar wall, head of St John the Baptist (16th century);

  2. on the right wall:

  3. St Roch (16th century);

  4. the Holy Family (1575);  and

  5. St Sebastian (16th century); and

  6. on the counter-facade, Madonna della Misericordia (15th century).

San Michele Arcangelo (14th century ?)

This church was first documented in the town statutes of 1360, when it  gave its name to its district.  It was the seat of the Confraternita di San Michele Arcangelo from the 16th century. The confraternity and its hospice were merged with three others in 1715 - see the Chiesa dell’ Ospedale above.

The facade dates to the 17th century.

The church is now deconsecrated.

Death of St Joseph (ca. 1700)

This altarpiece was recorded in San Michele Arcangelo in 1896, with an attribution to Carlo Lamparelli.  It is now in the Pinacoteca Comunale, [but not displayed in 2009]

Madonna and Child with saints (early 16th century)

This detached fresco, which depicts the Madonna and Child with SS Michael and Antony Abbot, is now in the chapel adjoining the Cappella del Crocifisso, Santa Maria Maggiore.  The artist was a follower of Andrea d' Assisi, l’ Ingegno.

Oratorio di Sant’ Antonio Abate (ca. 1571)

This oratory (on the left in this photograph) belonged to the Compagnia della Morte, which was formed in 1571 to provide burial for the poor and to perform other works of charity.   The confraternity moved to the nearby Oratorio del Morte (on the right in this picture - see below) in 1623. 

The inscription above the door of the oratory records that it passed to the Societa dei Mulattieri in 1630.

Oratorio della Morte (1623)

Giovanni Jacoberi, the confessor of St Charles Borromeo, commissioned this new oratory next to San Gregorio Magno for the Compagnia della Morte.  (The two doors on the left in this photograph belong to the oratory, and the two to the right belong to the church).  Many other families contributed to the cost, and they are commemorated within.  The confraternity moved here from the nearby Oratorio di Sant’ Antonio (above) in 1623.

The Compagnia della Morte seems to have owned a cemetery near San Fedele in the 18th century.

God the father with sibyls, prophets and angels (1628)

This Baroque scene is painted on the ceiling.

Return to Monuments of Spello 

Return to Walk I or (for the Osteriaccia ) Walk III

Oratories and Hospices in Spello

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