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Saturday 18 May 2024
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San Domenico

Chiesa di S. Domenico
The church of San Domenico was built in the second half of the 13th century. Its exterior is sheathed in white and red stripes that highlight a later addition to part of the nave.

The upper section of the bell tower is 16th century. An entrance with columns opens into the right flank of the building, with a half moon window decorated with a deteriorated fresco by Perino Cesarei.

The single nave interior is crossed by a transept and originally terminated in three rectangular, apsed chapels. Restoration works carried out between 1934 and 1937 stripped the church of its Baroque decorations in favour of bringing back its original Gothic design, revealing a number of 15th century frescoes.

The wall to the right of the nave features an early 15th century ‘Triumph of St Thomas Aquinas’. The chapel of Santa Maria Maddalena, a later addition to the right of the lateral apse chapel, contains episodes from the life of Mary Magdalene on the lateral walls. The far wall is occupied by a ‘Crucifixion’, while the vaulted ceiling is decorated with ‘Christ Blessing with Angels’, all from the early 15th century. The tribune of the central apse contains a painting on wood by the Maestro di Fossa (14th century), perhaps once part of a polyptich depicting the martyrdom of St Peter. The frescoes here are another depiction of Christ in the act of blessing (15th century), a 13th century ‘Madonna with Child, a 15th century St Leonard and a 14th century ‘Pietà’, as well as a 15th century ‘Madonna with Child and St Peter Martyr’.

The left hand apse chapel contains a silver reliquary with a nail from the Cross. From here a passage leads down to the crypt, originally a church dedicated to St Peter. The outside entrance of the church has been walled in. A solitary central column supports the vaulting of the ceiling, while the walls are entirely decorated with 14th and 15th century votive frescoes.

The left hand wall of the nave contains a particularly fine 14th century wooden Crucifix, as well as the chapel dedicated to St Peter commissioned by the Comune between 1679 and 1680. This contains canvases by Maffeo Catelli depicting episodes from the life of the Saint, as well as fine gilded stucco work. A fresco of the Virgin and Child was brought to light on the wall to the left of the nave in 1984. It is next to a ‘Communion of St Catherine of Siena’ (mid-15th century) attributed to Bartolomeo da Miranda.

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