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mail: Bill Thayer 
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The Church of S. Michele near Acquasparta


[image ALT: A side view of a tall hill sloping downward to the viewer's right a very regular gradient of about 30 degrees; it is forested with low trees and occasional clearings of brush. Framing the photograph in the foreground, some scrub oak on our left and branches of an olive tree on our right. About halfway down the hill, a small belfried stone building can just barely be made out. It is a view of the church of S. Michele near Acquasparta, Umbria (central Italy).]

The closer we get to this chapel, the less there seems to be to it. And indeed, it's not intended to be a great marvel of art or history: it's a hermitage.


[image ALT: A wide two‑story building of rustic stone, with two doors (one of which is raised off the ground and not visibly accessible), two small rectangular windows, and a small rectangular niche above one of these. Despite that, its aspect is essentially windowless; it rises to a peak in the center, where it is surmounted by a small open belfry arch of the style called in Italy a 'campanile a vela', but without its bell. It is the church of S. Michele near Acquasparta, Umbria (central Italy).]

[image ALT: One wall of a small room, coated in somewhat decrepit plaster. Backed up against it, on a neat stone step, a low wood table, quite narrow, with a cross on it. It is the sole altar in the one-room church of S. Michele near Acquasparta, Umbria (central Italy).]

Since 1994 when I passed thru and took these photos, the chapel has been significantly restored, and has returned to its original function as a hermitage. Since then also, a very informative page on the chapel has been put online by the good folks at Luoghi del Silenzio, from which I learned what I was at the time unable to discover at all: the faithful of the area built it between 1734 and 1743 when it was consecrated; and almost immediately afterward, as is quite clear from its appearance, a house was attached, as we see elsewhere in Umbria, for example at S. Arnaldo of Figareto. An attempt was made to restore the symmetry of the whole by centering the open belfry over the conjoined structure. That same page includes 8 photographs; the comparison with mine is instructive.


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Page updated: 4 Sep 16