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Saturday 18 May 2024
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San Pietro

Chiesa di S. Pietro
Almost directly opposite San Paolo, the church of San Pietro stands on the other side of the Via Flaminia, at the feet of Moneluco.

The church was founded by Bishop Achileo, probably in 419AD, when he arrived from Rome bearing some fragments of the chains allegedly used to imprison St Peter, from the church of San Pietro in Vincoli.

The ground where the church stands had been used as a burial ground ever since the Bronze Age, and functioned as the burial place of all the city’s bishops during the 5th century. This fact implies that the church of San Pietro was probably the first cathedral of Spoleto, placed initially outside the city walls like at Perugia, Arezzo and Florence.

The existing structure is 12th century. Rebuilt after a fire in the 14th century, as with the Duomo the interior is Baroque (1699)

The magnificent, late-Romanesque façade is divided into three orders by cornices and lesenes that frame the fine decoration and bas-reliefs. Lombard influences are clearly visible in the use of rectangular bricks and are probably from 1200. But the elaborate richness of style in the decorative reliefs around the main entrance point to a later work, even if still from the 13th century.

The segmented cornice above the main entrance is an interesting detail and could be the remnant of a rose-window, of which only the square section has survived with the symbols of the Four Evangelists in each corner and cosmatesque decorative motifs. The empty surface in the middle of the third order, framed by four slabs, was probably destined to contain a mosaic.

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