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San Brizio:
An Imperiled Gem of Romanesque Architecture

A town of central Umbria, a frazione of Spoleto: 42°47.5N, 12°42.4E. Altitude: 246 m.

[image ALT: A large freshly plowed field partly interrupted by a patch of vineyard with vines raised on low concrete stakes. In the background, a cluster of six houses, one to three stories tall, sloping down a 15° hill, and dominated by a six‑story square stone belfry at least 20 meters high. The hamlet of San Brizio, near Spoleto, Umbria (central Italy).]
The town and the belfry of the church, as seen from the road from Spoleto to Monte­falco.

[image ALT: Relief from a Roman temple, in the west wall of the church]

Although the tall 19c belfry may draw the visitor in from afar, what you then see as you approach the church is a veritable lapidary museum of Roman stones reused in the fabric of the church: bits of monumental friezes, inscriptions, telltale large squared chunks of travertine.
[ 5/2/98: 1 page, 6 photos ]

[image ALT: Romanesque nave supported by powerful columns]

The interior of the church is no less rich in works of art of every period: a very attractive small crypt with sculpted capitals, housing a Roman sarcophagus, maybe the very one to have enclosed the bones of the saint; the "usual" frescoes (we're in Umbria!), and some particularly beautiful Renaissance stonework but the actual church building remains the star — and is also endangered.
[ 5/2/98: 4 pages, 12 photos ]

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Site updated: 2 May 98