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Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva

Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva

The church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva makes the splendid setting of piazza del Comune in the historical centre of Assisi even more enchanting.
Used for worship since 1539, when it was built inside an ancient Roman temple in obedience to Pope Paul III's wishes .

Even from the Early Middle Ages, the cella of the temple was used as a little church dedicated to San Donato. After it had passed to the Benedictines, the whole complex underwent a further period of degradation, when it was used for humble living quarters and workshops.

During the 13th century, it was taken over by the Comune, which divided the structure into two floors, assigning the lower floor for use a prison and the one above as a Council hall.
The current appearance of the interior dates back to the 17th-18th centuries; in 1634 the church, which has been called Santa Maria sopra Minerva since 1539, was raised and lengthened, following designs by Giacomo Giorgetti.
The vault was entirely frescoed mid-18 th century by Francesco Appiani with the Glory of Saint Philip and the Cardinal and Theological virtues.
The two side altars, the choir and the back choir are from the same period, designed by Pietro Carattoli. The altar on the right is decorated with a painting of the Death of Saint Andrew of Avellino by Anton Maria Garbi whilst the one on the left, is the Death of Saint Joseph painted by Martin Knoeller. These artists also worked on other paintings, which today are found in the sacristy.
The high altar is decorated by exquisite seventeenth-century stuccos.
Recently restoration works have been carried out which brought to light some ruins from Roman times including the ancient temple floor and a solid support wall.



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