Basilica of San Salvatore

Basilica di San Salvatore a Spoleto

The Basilica of San Salvatore, on Ciciano hill, is incorporated inside Spoleto cemetery, outside the medieval city walls. 

In 2011 the Basilica of San Salvatore became a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the serial site "The Longobards in Italy. The places of power (568-774 A.D.)", which includes the most important Longobard monuments existing on Italian territory.


The origins of the church, initially dedicated to St. Concordio, probably date from sometime between the fourth and fifth centuries. After the Longobard restructuring in the eighth century, the church took the name of San Salvatore due to the image representing Jesus Christ, placed above the main altar. In the eleventh century the church regained the primitive name that lasted until the seventh century; again in the eighteenth century renovation work was carried out and the lantern on the dome was added.

The church's current appearance is a result of the restorations made during the twentieth century, which eliminated the alterations made over the centuries and allowed the church to readopt the name of San Salvatore.

The facade originally had a crowning triangular pediment and was preceded by a portico. Today it is divided into two levels: on the bottom there are three elegant stone portals, and Roman-themed friezes on the lintels; at the top there are three windows. The sides are topped by a pediment with a triangular gable, while the centre has two pillars supporting a rounded arch with the ring decorated with classical motifs. Traces of plaster on the front suggest that it was covered for the entire higher order.

The interior of the basilica has a nave and two side aisles, concluding with a semicircular apse and two square apses. The aisles, with a higher central aisle, are divided by Doric columns, supporting an entablature. The presbytery, framed by a triumphal arch and delimited by Corinthian columns, is covered by a dome with eight segments resting on four tall corner columns. In the middle of the apse, in a niche, there is a frescoed monogrammed cross which, along with traces of faux marble decoration, are examples of the oldest painted decorations.
On top there is a Madonna with child and saint, a fragmentary fresco from the thirteenth century, and next to this a fifteenth century Crucifixion.

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