Church of San Michele Arcangelo

Chiesa di San Michele Arcangelo - Bevagna

In Piazza Silvestri, opposite San Silvestro,

stands the church of San Michele Arcangelo, built in 1070 by Binello and Rodolfo. The masters are mentioned in an inscription at the entrance. The collegiate church was downgraded by Frederick II in 1248 and only in 1618, at the behest of Pope Paul V, did it regain its title.

Over the centuries, the church of San Michele Arcangelo underwent numerous changes: in the 15th century, the roof was restored at the behest of prior Bernardo Eroli, while in the 17th century, the interior and façade were adapted to the Baroque taste.

A new lobed rose window was opened by demolishing the original and part of the corbel with small arches; the interior, both of the church and the crypt, was entirely covered in stucco and vaults in “camorcanna” were added; the bell tower, built at the end of the 12th century, was modified in the upper part using salvaged pieces from the pre-existing bell tower.

The new church was consecrated in 1666 by the Bishop of Spoleto. Further restoration dates back to 1741 and 1834.

Between 1951 and 1957, the church was restored to its original form by demolishing baroque interventions and restoring missing parts. Restoration work today includes the floor, the staircase leading to the presbytery, the sloping wooden roof, the large oculus of the façade with the reconstruction of the central arches.

The current layout is basilica-like with a raised presbytery and naves separated by columns with arches. The latter are characterised by recessed ferrules resting on capitals abraded by Baroque interventions. The façade, datable to the early 13th century, is built of travertine blocks; at the bottom there are three doors, the central of which is richly adorned; higher up it is divided into five parts by four shaped pilasters; those on the right extend into the bell tower; between the pilasters there are three mullioned windows; above them runs a theory of blind arches resting on corbels shaped as human and animal heads.

Four protomes protrude from the pilasters, two animal-like and the third in the form of a crowned male head. The central door of the façade uses partly reworked Roman frames as jambs; at the impost of the arch are, on the left, the winged bust of St. Michael with a spear in one hand and an open book in the other; next to it, a dragon tries to bite the archangel’s spear; below the inscription (Rodolfo and Binello did these works; may Christ bless them always; may St. Michael preserve them).

On the other side is an angel with a processional cross and cartouche. The crypt consists of twelve bays determined by six slender columns.

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