Sant'Anatolia di Narco

Castel San Felice

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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 shore of the river Nera, crossed by ancient itineraries that are partly still viable and used to connect the different castles of the valley with the main town of Spoleto.
Perched on a small hill included in the territory dominated by the massif of the Coscerno (1685 metres), it seems that the settlement of Castel San Felice arose in connection with the reclamation works started by the Benedictine friars who already in the 6th century founded there a monastery identified with the current church of St. Felice di Narco. The town developed in a second step on the hill overlooking the church on the north and it is organized according to a pattern typical of the castles located on the top of a hill, completely surrounded by walls that are almost intact. The urban plant is characterized by concentric circular streets intersected with steep radial streets built for the most part with steps.
The building fabric develops along this road scheme 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 castle 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 coming from Syria and founders, according to the early medieval tradition, of a monastery and of the legend that wants them protagonists of the land reclamation in order to help the few inhabitants of the area, 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 protected by bars of the titular saint.