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Spello's Amphitheatre in Context (maybe)

[image ALT: Some ruined stone arches. It is a partial view of the amphitheatre of Spello, Umbria (central Italy).]

A core of Roman masonry on the E side of the amphitheatre, towards S. Claudio.

[image ALT: Painting showing this core of the amphitheatre on the left, the façade of S. Claudio on the right, and in the center, towards the background, a long rectangular complex of buildings in a garden.]

This early‑20c naïf fresco in the former Council Chamber of Spello's Palazzo Comunale — a clickmap, by the way — shows this core and the façade of S. Claudio, in about the right spatial relation to each other, but awkwardly misrepresents the distance to the Villa Fidelia in the background, which is in fact much farther away.

The vignette does correspond, however, to a sort of historical reality of another kind. The Villa Fidelia is said to overlie a Temple of Venus, many Roman remains having been found on the grounds; and the church of S. Claudio is alleged to have been built on the site of a Temple of Saturn, while at the same time being said by some to be constructed of the débris of the amphitheatre.

The relationships are not clear, but the three probably do belong to the same Roman-period complex. (A good deal of rumor, but not as much stone as I would like!)

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Page updated: 30 Apr 98