|The Church of S.Maria
della Noce at S.Polo, Tarano
Text by T.Leggio, translated by Helen Patterson, Assistant Director (Archaeology), The British School at Rome
Maria della Noce - A brief outline of its history
|It is very difficult to reconstruct
the initial stages of these castle foundations given the sketchy documentation
which is almost entirely dependent on the Farfa documents. The castle of
San Polo, for example, is first mentioned in the documentary records of
the Sabine monastery in January 1102. In this year Abbot Beraldo III leased
for three generations the land (gualdo) of Sant Anatolia in the territory
of Mozzano, to the presbyter Giovanni and to the brothers Rustico, Pietro
and Berizone, sons of Berardo. The neighbours of this land are, among others,
cited as toti seniores de Sancto Polo, in other words this property was
common to all the owners of the castle.
At the end of the 12th century, the final affermation of Papal control over the Sabina led to a series of innovations at an organizational level concluding with the publication of a list of the castelli and their annual payment to the Apostolic chamber, dating to the beginning of August 1191. This document gives us a detailed picture of the territorial organization of the Sabina, one which is very different to that of today, for example the castle of San Polo made an annual payment to the Apostolic chamber of six pounds of provisini (medieval coins).
At Rome the rise to power of Cola di Rienzo caused a major upheaval in the Sabina. The majority of the castles surrendered spontaneously to the Roman tribune. At Tarano, Forano, Aspra, Collevecchio, Stimigliano, San Polo and Selci, Cola nominated as rector and podestà il nobilis vir Iannoctus Herricus but on December 2nd, following pressure from the Papal legate, he withdrew the nomination.
|Between 1351 and
1352 once again new forms of opposition to the Papal regime emerged, which
became increasingly violent. At San Polo, in fact, in this period Paolo
magistri Jannis was fined four florins because, during a meeting of the
town council, he and others had opposed the negotiation to entrust the position
of power for six months to the Roman church.
In the list of 'sale and focatico' (salt and hearth-tax) of the Comune of Rome, published between the 14th and the 15th centuries, San Polo had to buy 15 rubbia of salt and until 1364 was immediately subject to the Holy See. It had to pay the latter an annual sum of six pounds of denari provisini, according to the registero of Albornoz.
The end of the conflicts led to the affermation of seigneurial control over many castelli of the Sabina, favoured by the Pope to reward its main supporters. Among the first castelli to be feudalized were San Polo, with Stimigliano, Collevecchio, Selci, Torri and Montasola, immediate spectantia to the Holy See. On the 16th April 1368 it was leased by Pope Urban V for two male generations, with the possibility of leasing in certain circumstances also to the female line, to Francesco and Bucio Orsini, sons of Giordano, the deceased rector of the patrimony who died in 1365.
San Polo remained in the possession of the powerful Roman baronial family for many years. In August 1433, when Eugenio IV ordered troops to be sent to the cardinal legate at Orte to oppose Niccolò della Stella, tyrannice invadentem Statum Ecclesiae, San Polo partecipated with only 9 pedites. The copy of the land register statutes ordered by Napoleone Orsini, count of Tagliacozzo and of Albe and capitano generale of the Holy Roman Church dates to 1479. Fiefs which were confirmed by Bonface IX in 1391, despite the hostilities with the Orsini, with in addition an exemption from the payment of salt and of the hearth-tax.
The monastery of Sant Andrea in Flumine, situated on the west bank of the Tiber, also possessed notable landed property in the territory of San Polo, as mentioned in the charter of confirmation granted by Niccolò IV at the end of the 13th century. The area of land in its possession, however, seems to have rapidly decreased eventually concentrating exclusively on the church of Santa Vittoria which was later abandoned.
The religious landscape of the territory of San Polo is clearly outlined in the records of the churches in the diocese of the Sabina which were under the episcopal jurisidiction drawn up in 1343 by the bishop ordinario, the Spanish cardinal Pietro de Barros. At San Polo was the church of San Pietro, a parish church with a presbyter rector and a priest. On San Polo depended the chapels of San Biagio, of San Cosma, San Giorgio, San Stefano, Sant' Andrea, San Angelo, San Nicolo and of San Concordio, as well as others which are not named. Both the church and the chapels were under the control of the archpresbyter and of the canons of the cathedral church of Vescovio. In addition to San Pietro there was also the church of San Vittoria, which was archpresbyterial but without the cure of souls. The archpresbyter was assisted by numerous priests and his election was up to the monastery of Sant Andrea in Flumine. The bishop had the right to visit the church and could also take part of the taxes.
Although it remained in the possession of the Roman baronial family, on the death of Enrico Orsini, marquis of Stimigliano, in 1604 the Apostolic Chamber declared that the line was extinct and expropriated the castle. His legitimate son, Franciotto, appealed. The controversy ended in 1641 when his heirs, Enrico and Francesco, following an agreement with Pope Urban VIII renounced their claims on the castle .1
In 1817 San Polo had 235 inhabitants and was under the jurisdiction of Montebuono, it later fell under the jurisdiction of Collevecchio and in 1853 San Polo had 307 inhabitants, of which 54 lived in the countryside. There were 63 families and 67 houses. The parish church was dedicated to San Pietro and Paolo and had an organ, the village festival was celebrated in the name of the patron San Barnabo on June 11th. In the village, whose town walls were still preserved, were a butcher, a grocer, a cobbler and a flour mill belonging to the Piacentini family.
On the 9th and 10th of June
1505, the territory of San Polo was the scene of two miraculous apparitions
witnessed by a countrywoman of the name of Giovanna, daughter of Lodovico
of Michele of San Polo. While the young woman was working in the family
fields, beyond a hedge no more than three steps away, a young monk appeared
dressed as the Servants of Mary 2 with the tunic, the scapular and the
hood. The Servant of Mary held in his hand the rosary characteristic of
his order which is used to pray to the Madonna, and greeted the young
girl with the phrase 'Ave Maria'.
|At the end of the 18th century, Cardinal Corsini, on the occasion of a holy visit to the castle of San Polo, left a brief but effective description of the small church, now under the patronage of the comunity of San Polo, of its state of preservation and at the same time gave a brief synthesis of its history4 . In the church was an altar dedicated to the Virgin above which was a panel with a painting depicting the vision with San Barnaba5 beneath, thus in part altering the original story by introducing the figure of the Holy patron. This painting, however, was not the original but a later copy, probably carried out after the suppression of Pope Innocent. The original, from San Polo, ended up on the antiquarian market and was bought in the 1950s by the Soprintendenza delle Gallerie del Lazio, when following its restoration in 1957 it was recognized as the original painting of San Polo. The painting is dated to the first decades of the 16th century and attributed to an unknown painter from Lazio. It measures 178 x 134 centimetres including the original frame and, despite its poor state of conservation, represents a faithful version of the original vision. In 1960 the painting was given to the civic museum of Rieti, although it is presently housed at the Galleria d'Arte Antica of Palazzo Barberini where it awaits further restoration6 .||
On the walls are other frescoes
including one depicting Christ and Mary Magdelene, signed by the Arretine
painter Sebastiano Florio and dated 1563. Near the altar is a small sacresty
with a cupboard and some sacred objects which Cardinal Corsini, who had
already noted that the window of the church door had no glass and that
there was a large crack in the wall to the left of the altar, considered
Upper part: fresco depicting the Holy Father seated among cherubim, holding a globe with a cross in his left hand.
Lower part: fresco depicting the Madonna Enthroned with Child, and St.John the Baptist and St.Biaggio.
HOME SABINA ONLINE
Places to visit - Events - How to get here - Map
History - Gastronomy - Geography - Traditions
Villages of the Sabina - Schools - Useful numbers
"The Farfa from Farfa" - Links
site produced for Fabaris srl.
© 2000 Fabaris, all rights reserved