Key to Umbria: Terni

Franciscan Nunneries in Terni

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San Paolo di Galleto (ca. 1228)

A community of Franciscan nuns was established at the church of San Paolo, in Galletto, outside Terni before 1228.  The community became quite rich after generous indulgences were granted by Pope Nicholas IV (in 1291) and Pope Boniface IX (in 1393) to those visiting the church on Easter Monday.  (This led to the establishment of the annual Fiera di San Paolo, which is still celebrated as the “Corsa al Bravio”).

Bishop Francesco Coppini  suppressed the nunnery in 1458 because it had very few nuns, and the complex passed in commendam to Cardinal Basilios Bessarion.  

This was the site of a battle between papal and imperial forces after the sack of Rome in 1527.  The Fabbrica d’ Armi (arms factory) was built here in 1875.

Santa Caterina (14th century)

The Franciscan nunnery of Santa Caterina in what is now Piazza del Mercato Nuova was documented in the 14th century.  It was closed in 1845 and the complex was used a a school.  It was destroyed in the bombardment of the Second World War. 

Art from Santa Caterina

Madonna and Child with saints (17th century)

This altarpiece is usually on the right wall of the left transept of the Duomo (although it had been removed for restoration in 2010).  It depicts the Madonna and Child with SS Catherine of Alexandria (to whom the baby Jesus gives a wedding ring), John the Baptist and Francis.

Monastero di San Procolo (1508)

A church here, which was documented in the 14th century, belonged to a community of female Franciscan tertiaries.  In 1508, this was converted into a community of Franciscan nuns under the jurisdiction of the friars of  Santa Maria delle Grazie.  Sister Felice de Stefano da Osimo, moved here with a few other nuns from the Monastero di San Leonardo, Montefalco and became the first abbess.

The nuns were forced to move in 1862 (see below).

Altarpieces from San Procolo

These two altarpieces from the church are now in the Pinacoteca Comunale:

  1. Madonna and Child with St Anne (16th century)

  2. This altarpiece has the iconography of the Madonna del Carmelo.  The standing Virgin holds the baby Jesus, with St Anne above and behind them and the Holy Spirit descending in the form of a dove from the left.  A manuscript attached to the reverse confirms the provenance and records that the image was venerated because the Virgin had spoken to one of the nuns.

  1. Madonna and Child with saints (16th century)

  2. This altarpiece from the high altar depicts the Madonna and Child enthroned with SS Francis, Louis of Toulouse, Clare and Proculus.  The gallery attribute it to Pompeo Cocchi, although it has also been attributed to Perugino, Francesco Melanzio and Marino di Ser Austerio.

  1. Madonna and Child with saints (17th century)

  2. This altarpiece, which was documented in San Procolo in 1726,  is attributed to Girolamo Troppa.  It depicts the Madonna and Child with the young St John the Baptist and SS John the Evangelist and Peter of Alcantara.

SS Annunziata (1542)

This church and nunnery were built for a community Franciscan nuns using funds raised by public subscription.  The nuns were forced to move:

  1. to Santa Maria dell’ Oro in 1862;

  2. to a house in Via Barbarasa in 1895;

  3. to a house near Sant’ Alò in 1959; and

  4. to the present Monastero SS Annunziata at Colleluna (5 km outside the city) in 1990. 

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