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Romanesque Itinerary - S.Pietro ai Muricento at Montebuono
how to get there:
  • Leave the Roma - Firenze motorway at the exit "Magliano Sabina"
  • Follow the Flaminia road towards Civita Castellana for about 3 km and turn left at the crossroad for Torri in Sabina.
  • After about 10-15 minutes there is a turning to the left for Montebuono
  • S.Pietro ai Muricento is situated in the district of Montebuono. To find out more about this district, see the page for Montebuono.

    For the moment, the Romanesque Itinerary can only be visited by appointment, to book call:

    Information centre:

    Two faces


    Roman Mosaic

    Pompei-style fresco

    Wall in:"opus reticolatum"

    The church of San Pietro ad Muricentum or ad Centomuros (Hundred Walls), is so-called in the ancient documents because of the imposing structures, belonging to a Roman villa, which surround it. It lies just outside the village of Montebuono, on a hill dominated by the Sabine mountains and overlooking the Tiber valley. Despite numerous alterations through the centuries, the church still preserves the plan of the original Romanesque structure which recent restoration work has brought to light. The laying down of a new pavement revealed a series of rooms, in part reused as ossuaries, which belonged to the Roman villa. The villa is normally known as the "Baths of Agrippa" because of a fragment of an inscription found among the ruins which mention the General Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, the son-in-law of the Emperor Augustus, who died at the age of 51 in Campania in 12 BC.

    The construction of the church included the reuse of much material of the Roman period. The walIs of the villa were only partly destroyed and therefore mosaics, pavements in opus spicatum, walI paintings and a cistern have re-emerged to give a fascinating glimpse of some of the rooms belonging to the more luxurious living quarters of the villa, which was clearly a building of enormous dimensions.

    Whether or not the villa belonged to the great General of the Augustan period, at some point it passed into the hands of the Licini family, as we know from the maps of the Abbey of Farfa which record the existence of a fundus Licinianus from 998. The church of San Pietro ad Muricentum was built during the lively political climate of the early 12th century and is first mentioned in July 1105.

    San Pietro was the focus for the rural population until the foundation of Montebuono, which pro-bably took place at the end of the 13th or the beginning of the 14th century, when we have the first references to the new settlement. This was a period in which the tendency was to reunite the population, who had previousy lived in small and dispersed settlements, with the church as the focal poínt.

    In the 15th century San Pietro was still the main church of Montebuono, as attested by numerous legacies and the important series of wallpaintings. These were executed by Jacopo of Roccantíca, a pupil of Ottaviano Nelli, although no longer fully visible today they still decorate the apse, where one can see a remarkable Last Judgement, and part of the right nave. According to a cartouche under the nativity scene the Sabine painter was commissioned to carry out the work by the «bone done de Montebonu» (the good women of Montebuono). After the council of Trento, the parish functions were transferred to the church of Santa Maria Assunta, constructed withín the castello, probably in 1408, near the palazzo comunale, while San Pietro continued to function as the cemetery church. The beautiful bell tower is detached from the church and was originally several storeys higher.

    Continue the Romanesque Itinerary -S. Maria Assunta at Fianello

    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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