In the province of Perugia, at the foot of mount Subasio, lies a town with ancient history, famous everywhere thanks to its traditional “Infiorate”, and visited each year by thousands of tourists. Let us become tourists for a day and find out all that Spello has to offer.
Three of the many things to see in Spello.
Spello was founded by the Umbrians many years before the birth of Christ, and, during the Roman Empire, became an important imperial centre, so much so, that Augustus himself named it “Splendidissima Colonia Julia”. Proof of this prosperous period are the imposing fortified walls (the best preserved in Italy) where there are three entrances to the village, characterised by a dense network of narrow streets, whose windows and balconies, during the spring and summer period, are beautifully decorated with fragrant and colourful flowers…
But the city is much more than this… Spello is a real treasure trove of art, and there are many works to see (if only for the fact that this ancient village hosted artists such as Perugino and Pinturicchio). Today we will explore three of them.
1) Church of Santa Maria Maggiore.
The church was built in the 12th century and its austere and linear façade (on which stands out the high Romanesque bell tower) highly contrasts with the extremely baroque interior, which hosts precious works of art.
First of all, we have the Cappella Baglioni, whose floors are decorated with splendid mosaics from Deruta and whose walls are one of the most famous frescoes by Pinturicchio, also showing a self-portrait of the artist. As if that weren’t enough, next to the pillars of the presbytery there are two frescoes by Perugino.
But the treasures of this church don’t end here: the Cappella del Sepolcro conserves wooden sculptures from the 12th and 14th centuries, a painting on wood by Petruccioli and a shrine from the 16th century.
2) Municipal art gallery.
This imposing structure is located in the Palazzo dei Canonici and hosts sacred objects, paintings, sculptures, frescoes and jewellery as well as the remains of Saint Felice, patron saint of Spello.
Among the most important works we find the Madonna in Throne, made of polychrome wood and dating back to the 12th century and a fresco of the Madonna and Child among the saints Grilamo and Bernardino, attributed to one of Pinturcchio’s disciples.
It is impossible not to mention a painting on wood representing Christ on the Cross from the 15th century.
The history of the gallery is closely linked to its most important work, the Madonna and Child by Pinturicchio, originally in the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, stolen in 1970 and found 34 years later.
3) Church of Sant’Andrea.
It is a 13th century Franciscan church (renovated over the centuries under the influence of various artistic currents) that houses an altarpiece painted by Pinturicchio, representing the Madonna in Throne with the Child surrounded by saints, among whom are Sant’Andrea, San Francesco and San Lorenzo.
It is also worth noticing a fresco by painter Dono Doni, dating back to the second half of the 16th century and a wooden cross from the Giotto school.
These are just some of the many treasures that you can discover and explore along Spello’s alleys, deservedly one of the most beautiful towns in Italy. If you then decide to come and visit between June and July, you will hardly forget the magnificent spectacle of its festively decorated streets, as part of the event “windows, balconies and flowered alleys”…