Not all places of worship rise on sites that enhance their beauty and are capable of awakening a deep sense of inner peace in the hearts of their visitors. The Church of Madonna delle Grazie is surely one of these places. The church is framed by the thriving nature, vineyards and olive groves of the hill of Colpulito. On the top of the hill one can enjoy a beautiful view of the valley from the park in front of the church.
Its construction was ordered by the bishop of Spoleto Pietro Orsini and Cardinal Riarioin in 1583 after some miracles were believed to have occurred in that area in 1462 and 1582. It is plausible, then, that the church was built mainly as a tribute to the Virgin Mary (who had performed the miracles), but it was also a way to remember the importance of the Catholic Church to the believers. Those were indeed the times of Martin Luther’s protestant reform which was a cause of serious frictions in the catholic world.
The church was built along via Flaminia, the old road that connected Rome to the Adriatic sea.
The building was designed by the Italian architect Valentino Martelli, rises on a Latin Cross plan, and has an octagonal ceiling. It should have enclosed a dome, as the ancient floor plan shows, but it was replaced by a lantern. Moreover, the bell tower was never completed. On the external brick facade, one can notice the binary pilaster strips and Doric capitals.
Inside we find the fresco of Madonna delle Grazie (dating back to the first miracle) and some works by Ascensidonio Spacca, better known as il Fantino.
The church was damaged during the 1997 earthquake, fortunately the damage has since then been restored.