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Romanesque Itinerary - S. Francesco at Calvi dell'Umbria
how to get there:   
  • Leave the Roma - Firenze motorway at the exit "Magliano Sabina"
  • Follow the Flaminia road towards Civita Castellana.
  • Very soon after the motorway exit is the crossroads for Calvi dell' Umbria.
S. Francesco is situated in the district of Calvi dell'Umbria. To find out more about this district, see the page for Calvi dell'Umbria.
For the moment, the Romanesque Itinerary can only be visited by appointment, to book call:

Information centre:

S. Francesco: doorway

S. Francesco: Cloister

Calvi dell' Umbria
The church of San Francesco and the convent of San Berardo are situated about 500 metres from the walls of Calvi dell'Umbria, on a ridge which divides the valleys of Otricoli and Magliano Sabina, and at the junction of the old road for Narni.

Legend telIs us that they were constructed on land belonging to the family of San Berardo, a youth from Calvi dell'Umbria who was converted by the preaching of Saint Francis of Assisi on his travels through the village in 1213. Following Francis' example, he was sent to Morocco to spread the word of the Gospel, and there he suffered martyrdom together with five other brothers in Christ.

We have documentary evidence from 1291 of the original church, which was dedicated to Santa Vittoria, and of the smalI oratory. Of the original architectural complex, only the north wall, the church facade and the small oratory are still visible today. The oratory comprising two rooms, one of which is raised, has been integrated into a later building constructed after the fire and sacking carried out by the Lanzichenecchi family in 1527.

The church is built of local limestone and was restored several tímes during the 18th and 19th centuries. The square facade has a tympanum and an unusual single barrel vaulted nave with ten side chapels. Valuable frescoes are still preserved in the interior.

The piazza in front of the church leads to the square cloister at the centre of which is a 13th century well; on the walIs the remains of frescoes of the second half of the 17th century illustrate scenes from the life of Saint Francis.

The Church of San Salvatore
The church of San Salvatore, where the documentary sources tell us that Saint Francis preached, lies in the valley of the same name at the foot of the village. It was here that the people fled after the destruction of the castello of Altaino and formed the village of Calvi.

This was the fourth parish church of Calvi, integrated with that of San Valentino until the 17th century. It had two chapels, one dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul and the second to the Annunciation. Today only the outside walIs of the apse remain. The frescoes of the vault and the 24 votive paintings of the first half of the 15th century, arranged along the walIs, which were still visible at the beginning of this century have been lost. Forgotten and abandoned, it was used as a cemetety and presently it is private property and has been converted into stables and cowsheds.

Continue the Romanesque Itinerary - end

Territorio dell'Agro Foronovano Sabino-Umbro
Provincia di Rieti Provincia di Terni

Texts Tersilio Leggio -Direttore del Museo di Farfa
versione inglese Helen Patterson Assistant Director (Archaeology) The British School at Rome

Giovanna Alvino Soprintendenza Archeologica del Lazio
Mariasanta Valenti Soprintendenza Beni Ambientali e Architettonici del Lazio
Claudio Blasetti Soprintendenza Beni Ambientali e Architettonici del Lazio
Alia Englen Soprintendenza Beni Artistici e Storici del Lazio

Regione Lazio Consorzio dei Comuni dell'Agro Foronovano
Banca di Credito Cooperativo di Roma
Gruppo Cassa Rurale ed Artigiana di Roma



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