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Chiesa di San Lorenzo

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The church of San Lorenzo Vescovo e Martire is Spello’s second Collegiate church after Santa Maria Maggiore, and stands on Largo Mazzini, on the remains of the ancient church of Sant’Ercolano, probably attributable to the 6th century. This church was built in the 12th century for reasons that are still unclear: according to some, it was the will of the people of Spello who wanted to put themselves under the protection of the martyr Lorenzo, while according to others it was after the emperor Henry IV had removed the siege from the city. It was consecrated by Pope Gregory IX in 1228 and was later destroyed by the army of Frederick II. Later rebuilt and enlarged, it was visited by numerous popes.

Looking at the facade, one realizes that it is the result of two different construction phases: the first is Romanesque in character, while the second dates back to 1540 when the building was modified to create a more imposing image: the central nave was therefore enlarged and the side aisles built thanks to work led by the architect ‘Maestro Donato’, as evidenced by the parish chronicles.

The church has three naves divided by pillars and ending in an apse; the central one is the largest and is covered by barrel vaults, while the one on the right ends with an altar and houses three chapels: that of the Vergine Incoronata, which houses an image donated by Saint Bernardino of Siena in 1438, the 18th-century cappella del Sacramento by Piermarini or Filippo Neri from Foligno, in which the beautiful Tabernacle by Flaminio Vacca is preserved, and finally that of the Trinità. There is a glorious stained glass window depicting the martyrdom of San Lorenzo and an elegant canopy on the high altar that is very similar to the one made by Bernini in St Peter’s church in the Vatican.

The most important works preserved in the church include the Sposalizio mistico di Santa Caterina by Bartolomeo da Miranda and a Nativity di Andrea Camassei. The Sacristy also houses other works, including a 16th-century wardrobe inlaid with the coat of arms of the Baglioni family.

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