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S. Maria delle Grazie di Giano


[image ALT: zzz. It is the coat of arms of the town of Giano dell' Umbria (central Italy) over the door of the church of S. Maria delle Grazie in that town.]


[image ALT: It is the façade of the church of S. Maria delle Grazie in Giano dell' Umbria (central Italy).]
Though the church of S. Maria at Giano dates to the Middle Ages, both the façade and the interior were completely revamped at some time in the classical period, my guess is in the early 18c. At any rate the stuccoed coat-of‑arms over the front door is that of Giano: the church was clearly seen as a civic monument as well as a religious edifice; possibly because it stands directly across the central piazza of the town from the town hall, as is not uncommon in Italy: squaring off for the minds and hearts of the people, Church and State — even if in this case the latter was the Pontifical State, so that it didn't much matter.

Inside, the church consists of one largish room: you see about half of it here. To avoid sacrificing too much of the length of the worship space to the sacristy, a corner has been cut for access to it, and a blind corner provided on the other side for symmetry.

The focal point is not so much the altar as the small painting in its exuberant oval frame: it is the Madonna delle Grazie, the late medieval work for which the church is named and may even have been built: Mary as Giver of Favors. The painting is surrounded by several dozen ex‑votos for graces received.


[image ALT: About half of a polygonal room; the ceiling is not seen, but it must be at least 4 meters high. We are looking at an altar with behind it an oval painting about the size of a man's chest, elaborately framed in a gilt-metal case about six times as large, in imitation of the rays of the sun. It is a general view of the interior of the church of S. Maria delle Grazie in Giano dell' Umbria (central Italy), looking towards the main altar.]

For a small country church, it's an elegant building. An octagonal cupola roofs the space, with Mary's monogram (an A and an M interlaced, for Ave Maria) in a 'glory' echoing the one we just saw around the painting of her. It's what I like best:

[image ALT: zzz. It is an interior view of the cupola of the church of S. Maria delle Grazie in Giano dell' Umbria (central Italy).]


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Page updated: 21 Jul 07