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Church of St Euphemia

Overview

One of the most interesting Roman buildings in Umbria, the Church of St Euphemia is located in the central Via Saffi, within the enclosure of the archbishop's palace in Spoleto. The oldest records of the building date back to the first half of the 10th century, when a monastery of Benedictine nuns was founded there by Gunderada, who in 980 transferred the body of the Spoleto bishop John, martyred under the Goths, there. In the 12th century, the church was rebuilt, emphasising the Spoleto Romanesque forms influenced by the Lombard architectural experience. In the 17th century, however, a detrimental change was made to the building, which was divided into two floors, the lower part was used for worship, while the upper part was incorporated into the bishop's palace. This state of affairs lasted until 1907, when a complete renovation was initiated, which was completed in 1954.
The soberly elegant façade is characterised by a three-light portal, surmounted by an elegant double lancet window and single lancet windows. The interior, with an arrangement of three naves divided by pillars and columns, three apses and women's galleries, recalls the structure of the church of St Lorenzo in Verona, documented from 1110. The narthex, located in the first bay, allows communication between the two women's galleries, whose presence was associated with the pre-existing ducal palace chapel, modelled on the Palatine chapel in Aachen. The high altar, from the Cathedral, is decorated with a precious 13th-century antependium with bas-reliefs (Agnus Dei and Symbols of the Evangelists) and cosmatesque ornaments. The mosaic decoration of the apse is largely lost, and only an engraving of the Eternal between cherubs (16th century) is preserved in the bowl.

Church of St Euphemia
Via Aurelio Saffi, 13, 06049 Spoleto PG, Italia
Website

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