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San Silvestro Church in Bevagna

Church of San Silvestro in Bevagna

Piazza Silvestri, in the mediaeval heart of Bevagna, contains important buildings and historical monuments including the church of San Silvestro, a refined example of Umbrian religious architecture and a compendium of the Romanesque style.

Description of the church

Founded in 1195, as the inscription on the side of the entrance portal states, the basilica shows an incomplete façade that was probably composed of two superimposed orders and crowned by a bell tower, like the church of San Michele on the other side of the square.

Under the horizontal cornice, decorated with reliefs depicting hunting scenes, dragons, human and animal protomes, are three windows, a triple lancet window in the centre and two mullioned windows on either side. The triple lancet window is supported by twin columns of reclaimed marble and is richly decorated with plant motifs; the mullioned windows stand on twisted columns whose bases are made of inverted capitals.

At the bottom, the beautiful recessed portal is decorated with vine shoots and fighting animals.

The interior of the church, simple and austere but at the same time monumental, has a nave and two side aisles built on squat columns. Worthy of note is the half-hipped roofing of the two side aisles, a rare motif in Umbrian religious buildings.

At the end of the nave, the presbytery is noticeably raised over the crypt, which is quiet and mystical, a single hall with two columns supporting the cross vaults.

Interesting facts

The town of Bevagna and the church of San Silvestro provided the backdrop for the set for Liliana Cavani’s third film about Saint Francis.

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Main attractions in the vicinity