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mail: Bill Thayer 
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S. Salvatore di Montecorona

The Lower Church


[image ALT: missingALT. It is the interior of the church of S. Salvatore di Montecorona near Umbertide, Umbria (central Italy).]

The plan of the Romanesque church is simple: a nave delimited from each side aisle by a row of columns, unmatched Roman spolia topped by equally unmatched but original capitals. Round arches everywhere result in a grid of groin-vaulted spaces; the tight spacing of the columns creates an intimate environment.

[image ALT: missingALT. It is the interior of the church of S. Salvatore di Montecorona near Umbertide, Umbria (central Italy).]

Above, the view that greets the visitor coming in from outdoors by the inconspicuous side door that now serves as the entrance to the lower church. Below, I've moved maybe three meters, to a spot halfway from the door to the main altar (offscreen left).

A very slight shift in position radically alters your perspective, bringing to mind Quintilian's famous remark on the beauty of the quincunx.


[image ALT: missingALT. It is the interior of the church of S. Salvatore di Montecorona near Umbertide, Umbria (central Italy).]

As I saw it in 2004 — from the looks of it, I'd be willing to bet after a 20c restoration — the lower church presented a unified appearance, uncluttered by paintings, statuary, and ex‑votos: the only decorative notes were part of the actual fabric of the building: the original Romanesque capitals and some very pretty naïve frescoes added to the vaults in the 18c. To keep this webpage to a manageable loading size, I've put them each on their own page.


[image ALT: missingALT. It is a capital in the lower church of the abbey of S. Salvatore di Montecorona, near Umbertide, Umbria (central Italy).]

[ 1 page, 6 photos ]

A sampler of the capitals


[image ALT: missingALT. It is a fresco in the lower church of the abbey of S. Salvatore di Montecorona, near Umbertide, Umbria (central Italy).]

[ 1 page, 5 photos (plus closeups) ]

and a sampler of the 18c frescoes; while not ex‑votos, they do have a votive character, and it would be nice to know the exact stories so vividly depicted.


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Page updated: 18 Aug 05