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  3. Spoleto
  4. San Ponziano

San Ponziano, Spoleto

View of San Ponziano Church from the Rocca (castle). View all images in our San Ponziano Photo Gallery.
View from outside the monastery walls, with the medieval Rocca crowning the hill in the distance.
Romanesque facade and tower of San Ponziano.
Detail of facade with central oculus and sculptures.
Baroque nave, looking east to the raised presbytery.
The crypt, with ancient conical pillars that may be from a hippodrome.
Fresco of the Madonna and Child, left chapel of the crypt, 15th century.
Fresco of the Trinity in the central chapel of the crypt.

Located outside the walls in the Umbrian hill-town of Spoleto, San Ponziano is a 12th-century monastic church dedicated to the patron saint of the city. It has a lovely Romanesque facade and extensive medieval frescoes in the crypt.

What to See

The Romanesque facade is an attractive combination of decorative cornices, a central oculus surrounded by the symbols of the Four Evangelists, and a square portal framed with Cosmatesque mosaics, carved decoration, and another set of medallion sculptures of the Evangelists. A tall, plain campanile is attached to the northwest corner.

The interior is less interesting, as it was fully Baroqued by Giuseppe Valadier in 1788. The three-aisle basilica has five bays, no transept and an elevated presbytery over the crypt. A cabinet behind the altar contains the relics of St. Ponziano, which are carried to the cathedral in procession each January 14. Next to it is a painting of the beheading of the saint.

The main attraction of San Ponziano is the crypt, entered at the end of the left aisle. Things improve even as head in that direction: the corridor leading to the stairs has large Corinthian columns embedded in the wall, a Lombard-era sarcophagus, and a 15th-century terracotta sarcophagus.

The crypt itself is spacious. It has a central row of columns supporting a groin vault, and apsidal chapels along the east side. In the center are two rare conical pillars, which are thought to be posts from a Roman hippodrome. There are also three Early Christian sarcophagi, with inscriptions scraped off, from the cemetery over which the church was built.

The crypt chapels are decorated with colorful frescoes dating from the 14th and 15th centuries, as follows:

Quick Facts on San Ponziano

Site Information
Names:Chiesa di San Ponziano; Church of St. Ponziano; Monastero di San Ponziano; San Ponziano; San Ponziano, Spoleto
City:Spoleto
State:Umbria
Country:Italy
Categories:Churches; Monasteries
Faiths:Christianity; Catholic
Styles:Romanesque
Dates:12th C
Status:active
Visitor and Contact Information
Location:Spoleto, Italy
Coordinates:42.739511° N, 12.741630° E  (view on Google Maps)
Lodging:View hotels near this location
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

Map of San Ponziano

Below is a location map and aerial view of San Ponziano. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.

References

  1. Personal visit (April 20, 2008).
  2. Alta Macadam and Ellen Grady, Blue Guide Central Italy with Rome and Florence, 1st ed. (Somerset: Blue Guides Limited, 2008), 555.
  3. "Chiesa di San Ponziano: Secc. XII-XIII" (Arcidiocesi di Spoleto-Norcia, Le Nostre Chiese 6). Pamplet purchased at the church.

More Information

Article Info

Title:San Ponziano, Spoleto
Author:Holly Hayes
Last updated:07/09/2009
Permalink:www.sacred-destinations.com/italy/spoleto-san-ponziano/italy/spoleto
Link code:<a href="http://www.sacred-destinations.com/italy/spoleto-san-ponziano/italy/spoleto">San Ponziano, Spoleto</a>