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Churches of S. Venanzo

[image ALT: A statue of a teenage boy in a long cloak, pulled aside over his right arm to reveal the stylized dress of a Roman soldier. He holds a large palm frond in his left hand, and raises his right hand bearing a Latin cross. It represents St. Venantius in the parish church of S. Venanzo, Umbria (central Italy).]

St. Venantius,
patron saint of the town.

As frequently with saints, there are many who bore the name. The saint venerated in this Umbrian town is usually identified with the most famous St. Venantius, a 15‑year‑old Roman boy from Camerino said to have been beheaded there in the mid‑3c. This plaster statue (19c or more probably 20c) in the parish church shows him of the right age, but represents him as a Roman soldier, for which he would have been too young; and in fact tradition says nothing about his having been a soldier.

St. Venantius became the object of a cult widespread in central Italy, and various local tales have accreted to his legend to account for its presence. Here, the saint is said to have been taken to Rome to be judged, and to have passed thru the area on his way back: neither part of this is likely, and anyone returning to Camerino from Rome would have taken the eastern branch of the Via Flaminia, which is nowhere near here.

[image ALT: A large two-story building set among pine trees. It is stuccoed except for the façade, which is of alternate courses of brick and small squared stone blocks. That façade has a single door with a semicircular tympanum with a broad border, and above it, a small rose window. It is a view of the church of S. Venanzio in S. Venanzo, Umbria (central Italy).]
S. Venanzio

1 page, 4 photos

[image ALT: A two-story stuccoed building with a two-arched open belfry just barely tall enough to jut above the sloping ceramic-tiled roof by about 80 cm. It is the church of the Madonna Liberatrice in S. Venanzo, Umbria (central Italy).]
Madonna Liberatrice

1 page, 2 photos

Outlying Churches

[image ALT: A single-room building of mixed stone and brick masonry, set on a small grassy rise and flanked by trees. Its door, taking up a third the width of the little building, is surmounted by a semicircular window; both door and window are edged in brick. It is a view of a chapel NE of S. Venanzo, Umbria (central Italy).]
NE of town:
Madonna dei Monti

1 page, 3 photos

These are, of course, only the churches I've seen myself; there are others in the territory of the township, some of them with attractive medieval frescoes — two in Rotecastello, two more in Collelungo, others at Civitella de' Conti, Ospedaletto, Pornello, Ripalvella and S. Vito in Monte for sure, and very likely yet others I don't even know about. I hope there's another Umbrian stay in my future, to go exploring.

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Site updated: 12 Oct 10