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Church of S. Michele Arcangelo

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The church of S. Michele Arcangelo is located in Piazza Silvestri, in front of the church of S. Silvestro.

It was built at the end of the XII Century, a few years after the facing “twin” church of S. Silvestro which also was realised by the Masters Binello and Rodolfo, as stated in the inscription next to the portal, and stands out due to its massive and majestic belfry.

It was the first cathedral of Brevagna, but in 1248 Frederick II stripped it of its title making it a collegiate church. Five centuries later, Pope Paul V would declare it the city cathedral again. In 1666 the Bishop of Spoleto sanctified the new church.

Looking at the structure of this church, it is easy to imagine what S. Silvestro would have looked like if its bell tower had ever been completed.

Although, while the church of S. Silvestro – despite being incomplete – kept its original aspect throughout the centuries, the church of Michele Arcangelo underwent heavy modifications following certain restoration works that conferred a mainly baroque look to the building. In the middle of its facade, stands out a large rose window that replaced the smaller original one which was placed in a lower position.

The top portion of the bell tower – built at the end of the XII Century – was modified also using materials recovered from the previous construction.

Also the roof was modified by the order of Prior Bernardo Eroli. Other restored elements include the floors, the capitals of the columns (in an attempt of restoring their original beauty ruined by coats of stucco), the internal staircase leading to the presbytery, and the wooden lining consisting in sloping surfaces.

Like S. Silvestro’s the facade is made of travertine blocks. In the upper part we find three-lancet windows. In the lower part there are three portals: two of the same size on the sides and positioned on the facade symmetrically and a central one, bigger, embellished with a wood bas-relief depicting Saint Micheal in the act of striking the dragon. The angel figures chiselled on the capitals are also noteworthy; the angel on the right is holding a cross and a scroll and the one on the left is piercing the dragon with a sword.

Like the church of S. Silvestro, inside there are three naves divided by the columns and an underground crypt under the raised presbytery.  The crypt mirrors the structure of the church plan and has three naves but the central one is divide by six additional thin columns forming 12 aisles with cross vaults.

Notable works of art include a “Crucifix” by Francesco Providoni, with images of Madonna, Mary Magdalen and Saint John, some frescoes by Andrea Camassei, and a silver statue of Saint Vincent by Peter Ramoser (1785).

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