Location: Viale Giuseppe Mazzini
Telefono: 0861 244457

The Church of Cappuccini, which was church and monastery of San Benedetto in the past, today is in a central area of the town and not isolated from other buildings as it used to be. The date of its building is still uncertain and imprecise. Some scholars say it dates back to 819, others refer to a document dated 1362, others mention the 12th century.

Thanks to elements which were visible inside the church until the 19th century, it is possible to say that the original church was made up of three aisles and that there was a big bell tower above the left aisle.

The entire building was totally abandoned during the 16th century and around 1570 it was entrusted to a group of Jesuits to build a college dedicated to the education of young people. This experience however lasted only a couple of years and in 1573 the church and the convent were given to the Capuchin friars.

Today the Church still bears the changes undertaken by the friars who remained there until 1865. The three-nave layout was modified into a single nave, as they needed to create a passage, in the left aisle, between the church and the convent, while in the right aisle three small chapels were built. The Benedictine bell tower was demolished in favour of a smaller bell-gable, placed on the extremity of the left side. The portal could be the oldest element still present today. The similarity with the Byzantine style of the Ancient Cathedral of Santa Maria Aprutientis makes us reflect on the dating of the church building and could also strengthen the hypothesis that, at the time of the fire of 1156 the Benedictine complex had been already built and that it managed to survive to it.

The great simplicity of the interior of the church respects the rule of the Capuchin friars, the only strongly scenic decorative element, capable of breaking the austerity of the place, is the large wooden altar that occupies the entire back wall. Built, according to tradition, around the second half of the 1700s by friar Giovanni Palombieri and his pupils, fra Stefano da Chieti and fra Michele della Petrella, its size and strict in the organization of space are quite impressive. The altar is divided into three parts by two large columns ending with Corinthian capitals, the tympanum, broken in the centre by a cymatium with the image of Blessing God is aligned with the underlying tabernacle, a jewel of the Capuchin wooden art. The paintings that decorate the altar depict in the centre the Immaculate Virgin in Glory between San Benedetto and San Francesco, on the left San Giuseppe and below Santa Chiara holding the monstrance, while on the right San Bartolomeo da Bagnoregio and under the Infant Jesus offering Saint 'Antonio a lily.


Traduzione: classe 3ALL del Liceo linguistico statale Giannina Milli

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