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Ficulle: Pieve di S. Maria Vecchia

[image ALT: A stone capital depicting eight stylized ferns. It is a Gothic capital of the main door to the church of S. Maria in Ficulle, Umbria (central Italy).]

A detail of the main door of S. Maria: stylized ferns on a 13c capital.

The cadaster of Orvieto, a property map of 1292, shows a church here. We could have guessed as much in relative safety: the main door of S. Maria is not younger than that; at the time, the church was well outside the town of Ficulle, which only in recent years has crept up to it along the main road from the castle. 1606 was a bad year for this church, at least officially, since it marks the construction of the new St. Mary's (q.v.), much closer to where the people now lived, with the transfer of liturgical services to the new church; but in retrospect, it is very likely to this that we owe the preservation of most of what makes her beautiful to us today: had she remained the principal church of Ficulle, much more of her medieval fabric would have fallen victim to redecoration and changing tastes. 1820 was another bad year, with less to show for it: an epidemic caused the authorities to remove the old cemetery; when Guardabassi saw the church about fifty years later (Indice-guida, p75), the frescos could barely be made out under a coat of whitewash; and during World War II, the German army used the Pieve as a supply depot. This last seems finally to have awakened the people of Ficulle to their heritage, since in 1950 S. Maria Vecchia was beautifully restored. Well taken care of, the church has now once again become the pride of Ficulle.

[image ALT: The façade of the church of S. Maria Vecchia in Ficulle, Umbria (central Italy).]

The façade and the N side of the church.

[image ALT: missingALT. It is a view of the church of S. Maria Vecchia in Ficulle, Umbria (central Italy).]

[image ALT: The naked torso of a haloed man, pierced with arrows; an angel extends a crown to him. It is a detail of a fresco of St. Sebastian in the church of S. Maria Vecchia in Ficulle, Umbria (central Italy).]

[ 7/4/05: 2 pages, 10 photos ]

OK, so the exterior of our church is on the bland side; inside is another matter: statues, a Mithraic cippus, and those frescoes now uncovered.

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Page updated: 25 May 10