The Church of Santa Maria Impensole

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Tourist information and welcome office
Via Cassian Bon, 4 - 05100 Terni
The church of Santa Maria Impensole is named “Impensole” for its building on a slope. The construction is situated on the ruins of an older structure, dated VIII century, which remained the backbone.


The severe lines and the accurate processing of its parts suggest that the artists who built the church wanted to treat it in a special way, because almost presaged the charm that this building would have exercised on the minds of Narni and visitors of all ages. The date of construction or reconstruction is 1175, as stated in the architrave of the main door.

The Architecture
In the back wall the small apse is built embossing, the unique altar is of rectangular stone, with a marble table of considerable size, supported by six pillars, adorned in cosmatesque and joined by many boxes of stones. Within their core the two sides pillars have an opening as a shape of clover from which it is visible the relics. The wooden statue of the Assumption of the XVII century is valuable. It’s placed on a shelf at the center of the apse. On the walls of the XIV and XV centuries there are traces of local paintings. In the church popular assemblies, or corporations are often held.  The church is located at the entrance of Via Mazzini, east side. The Architecture Outside there is a hall, which has three lights, corresponding to the three doors of the entrance, divided by four columns of travertine, two full and two embedded in the side pillars, two square base and two cylindrical base. Their capitals in Corinthian order, three of them have acanthus leaves and tendrils typical of' order, while the left has many branches of flowering roses symbolizing the purity of Mary.  The portals are ornamented only by floral tendrils and friezes, some animal figures-symbols: the lamb, the lion, the eagle, the peacock. Above the central portal deserves attention the graven image in the medallion, which more than a gesture of blessing, makes a welcoming and encouraging gesture. According to some art critics it’s the image of the Redeemer. According to others it could be a symbolic figure, as an example St. Benedict. Because of the church belonged to the Benedictines.  At the sides of the portal there are two stone lions.  Left input you can see two imperial eagles, overlooking the Apocalypse lamb.  The austere space aids the meditation and the reflection. It invites a sense of mysticism.  Infact in the turbulent age of City States the Religion was the soul of each activity.   The trussed roof and the light of the windows makes the Church even more impressive. The building has a Latin cross, with three naves, divided by two rows of four columns that support the characteristic segmental arch, as the Cathedral of San Giovenale and two pillars that support the triumphal arch. The capitals of the columns are of the Corinthian order, except the third on the right, which has two entwined human figures each of two lions, perhaps belonged to the
first founding of the church in the 'eighth century, or barbaric origin.
Leaving the church, going down some stairs to the left, it is the entrance of the underground. There are three rooms, an entrance hall, a small room adjacent to which is accessed through a makeshift step, and finally a large room with three naves, divided by pillars. The entrance is rectangular, vaulting,  with three niches on the right wall. The central niche was built the apse cantilevered, this compartment is below the presbytery. On the left wall, made up of discontinuous masonry, made with recycled materials, is the entrance to the underground of the nave of the church.  The pillars, five on each side, connected with the walls by arcs represent an interesting element for finishing and for the use the use of building Narni of the typical pink and white stone, excavated from Mount Ippolito. The pillars in turn rest on the oldest pillars.  Entering to the right there is a arcosolium grave (sec. VI) and across the remains of a Roman wall construction herringbone, which could be of the same era.  In the bottom left, there is a well on which rest the foundations of the wall of the upper church facade. In fact the church as most of the city of Narni has its foundations on the ruins of war and natural destruction of ancient Nequinum. Returning to the entrance at the bottom, on the left, there is a hole dug in the wall, leading into a small room, where you get a popup and from it you can admire an original well was built just below the main wall of the church, which is supported by a pillar, consisting of a cubic monolithic block and by a cylindrical column trunk, on which rests a rustic capital and an architrave.  A particular stone vault covers the whole of the cylindrical hollow shaft. Probably it could be a Roman cistern with the original plaster. The extent of the window shaft about 8 meters deep and has a diameter of about 5 meters, it contains water to about 2.50 meters.  Other traces of arches suggest other environments connected therewith, some still viable, others filled with rubble, which are the remains of an ancient Benedictine monastery. The underground rooms are visible only during the period of the Ring Race.