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Church of Santa Maria Maggiore sopra Minerva

Church of Santa Maria Maggiore sopra Minerva

In the Middle Ages, Benedictine monks turned the Temple of Minerva into a Christian church and dedicated it to St. Donatus. In 1212, they sold it to the Municipality of Assisi, which used it as the town hall and then as the dwelling of the Captain of the People and finally as a prison.

In 1456, the cell became a church again.

In 1539, Pope Paul III had the monument restored and dedicated it to the Blessed Virgin Mary, queen of true Knowledge. The bishop of Assisi, Marcello Crescenzi, granted use of the church to the Franciscans of the Third Order Regular, who tasked local architect and painter Giacomo Giorgetti with restoration of the church in 1634. He designed the Baroque altar and had the barrel vault built.

In 1758, the church was handed to the Fathers of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri, who had the vault decorated to honour St. Philip and built the two side altars. With the Restoration, the church was handed to the secular clergy. From 1989 to 1995, both the inside and outside underwent restoration work by the Monuments and Fine Arts Office.


Stucco-work on high altar by Giorgio Scala from Ticino, statues of Purity and Charity, as well as paintings of the Eternal, by G. Giorgetti;
Altar of St. Joseph, Death of Saint Joseph by Martino Knoller (1764), stucco-work by Pietro Carattoli, late 19th century;
Altar of St. Andrew of Avellino, Death of the Saint by Anton Maria Garbi;
Vault of St. Philip in Glory and the Cardinal Virtues, tempera by Francesco Appiani, 1750;
Lunette above the high altar: The Theological Virtues, tempera by Francesco Appiani, 1750;
Counter-facade lunette, musician angels, tempera by Francesco Appiani, 1750;
18th century organ by the Ruffati brothers, 1957.


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