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Montesano Convent

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Not far from Porta Orvietana, clung to a hill in the West of the walls, Montesano Convent stands out. It was built in the 13th century as a fortress against the attacks by the inhabitants of Orvieto. In 1325 it was occupied by the Poor Clares who left the site to the Franciscans after the 1348 plague.

As witnessed by “Monte Mascarano” old toponym, from Lombardic maska that is mountain of ghosts and of witches, the site must have been a holy place since ancient times. It might have been a necropolis with temples and sacella dedicated to several divinities such as Mars and Goddess Bellona. Here, in 1835, the renowned Mars of Todi, currently kept at the Vatican Museums, was brought to light.

The square of the convent houses a majestic centuries-old lime, which is said to have been planted in 1426 on the occasion of St. Bernardino’s visit.

The cloister, with its 18th century well, the 14th century hall used as a conference centre, and the library – full of parchments, incunambula and rare editions, mostly merged into the collection of the Municipal library of Todi – are noteworthy.

Next to the monastic building, the Church of the same name is located. Consecrated in 1633, it became a parish Church in 1977 named Maria Santissima Assunta in Montesanto. It still enshrines several artworks: many wooden statues and some paintings by lo Spagna, as well as by the pupils of Ghirlandaio (16th century) and of Cesare Permei (17th century).

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