Castel San Felice en - Castel San Felice en
Altitude: 334 metres Context: mountain Centre: small
Castel San Felice, a locality of the municipality of St. Anatolia di Narco, is a small fortified borough located on the right bank of the river Nera, crossed by ancient itineraries that are partly still viable and used to connect the different fortresses of the valley with the main town of Spoleto.
The town developed in a second settlement on the hill overlooking the church on the north and it is organized according to a pattern typical of hilltop fortreses, completely surrounded by walls that are almost intact. The urban plan is characterized by concentric circular streets intersected with steep radial streets built for the most part with steps.
The village develops along this road layout and it is made up of typical houses on two levels and accessible through steep external staircases. The lower level of the house hosts the warehouse that is often carved out in the walls of the overpass used to link the various houses. Today many of the buildings are in a state of decay or neglect, whereas other ones have been transformed for other uses, like the churches located within the village and dedicated to St. Paul and St. Sebastian. The churches, with a small size and structure, gradually ceded their sacred function to the more important church of St. Felice di Narco, the only religious building that is still in use in the small town.
The current aspect of the church dates back to 1190, when an integral renovation of a previous monastery was carried out. It has one of the best facades of the Romanesque architecture in Spoleto, executed according criteria borrowed by the Basilica of St. Salvador in Spoleto. The quality of the Umbrian Romanesque sculpture is revealed by the ornaments carved on the façade: the mullioned windows, the rose window and the frieze in low relief with stories of St. Felice and Mauro who came from Syria and founded, according to the early medieval tradition, a monastery. Legend has it that they reclaimed land in order to help the few inhabitants of the area, and this represented through the usual symbolism below the rose window of the church. The crypt of the church with just one aisle houses the stone sarcophagus of the titular saint, protected by bars.