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S. Andrea di Cesi

An Open-Air Lapidary Museum

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The entrance to S. Andrea from the street is not its façade,
but what was once clearly the side of the building.

On my quick passes thru Cesi, I've always found S. Andrea closed, so I haven't been inside — but we shouldn't expect a churchlike space; it's now a theater.

In this case, although from repeated experiences thruout Italy you'd think I'd know better, I like to tell myself that we lucked out and the items of interest can all be seen from outside. At any rate, until I visit the interior, we'll just zoom in on what we can:

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If this had not been built as a church (and I don't know that it was, after all we have no classic façade) the two doors here, and the other two at the other end that you saw in the first photo, would be quite typical of medieval Umbrian domestic architecture: the door of the house, and the much smaller door next to it, the so‑called porta del morto.

We're also starting to see some old stones, on either side of the larger door. While the walls of churches often incorporate Roman material, Cesi is just 3 km from Carsulae. Once that Roman town had been destroyed by an earthquake in Late Antiquity, its main use was as a quarry.

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A pair of griffins: a funerary motif of Etruscan origin.

The rest of the carvings on this page surround the farther set of doors:

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These too are funerary motifs, and once again of Etruscan origin: the gates of the living firmly closed, and the curiously shaped "peltate" shield that may originally have signified the warrior putting down his arms, or maybe, as George Dennis believes, divine protection.

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These carvings, though, probably do not come from a tomb:

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The ewer is almost certainly the side of an altar (meaning that inside the wall we probably have a Roman inscription); and I'm not going to guess how Hercules' club started its career.

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Site updated: 2 Aug 05