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Basilica of St Maria Infraportas

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On the western side of Piazza S. Domenico, opposite the church of the same name, stands one of the oldest religious buildings in the Foligno area towns – the Church of S. Maria Infraportas.
The basilica is mentioned in official documents from 1087 when the annexed hospital of Santa Maria was documented. The eleventh-century Romanesque structure stood on an earlier sacred ground, today preserved in the chapel of the Assumption (or of St. Peter) dating back to the 7th-8th century.

Throughout its history, the building has assumed different names because of its borderline position: built outside the city walls it was called “extra porta” or “foris portam” (beyond the walls), then changed to “infra portis” in the 12th century when it was incorporated into the urban center with the expansion of the city walls.

The external façade, made of pink and white stone bricks in alternating rows, is a reconstruction done in the nineteenth century, as is the small portico that precedes it made from columns and capitals of the 11th and 12th century.
To the right of the main façade there is a small niche from 1480 painted from the sinopia of a fresco depicting St. Anne crowned by the angels, attributable to Mezzastris. The bell tower is a little further ahead  on the same side.

The interior is divided into three naves, the central one with a barrel vault, the two smaller ones are cross vaulted. Immediately to the left, just after the entrance, you can see the famous Chapel of the Assumption, the oldest part of the church and perhaps even one of the oldest sepulchral chapels in the entire city, where two important 12th century Byzantine frescoes are preserved. The figures are the Archangel St. Michael and St. Disma, the good thief, on one side, and Christ blessing St Peter and St Paul on the other. A legend not documented by official sources claims that the two saints officiated the sacred rites in this chapel.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, a wooden statue of the Madonna and Child completed the decoration. Today this work is no longer visible as it was transferred to the parish museum without the Child, which was stolen in 1987.
Official documents certify that the building already functioned as a parish in 1631 and a wide range of works of art made by local and non-local artists definitely makes the Church of S. Maria Infraportas one of the destinations not to be mi ssed if you decide to visit the city.

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