The first news of the building is dated 956, when in this area already existed the Episcopio and a first cathedral, called Santa Maria of the bishopric , built between the VIII and the ninth century. An Episcopal decree of 1067 also ascerts the presence of another building forming part of the Cathedral group, the so-called “Tribuna di San Primiano”, datable to the ninth century.
The construction of the Duomo today was started after 1155, the year in which Spoleto was devastated by the imperial army of Frederick “Barbarossa”, and ended between the XII and the thirteenth century, when the Popes Innocenzo III in 1198 and Honorius III in 1216, they solemnly consecrated the new building.
In the following centuries the church was progressively transforming: in the thirteenth century the façade was enlarged and realized, between 1374 and 1384, a vast fresco cycle, now almost disappeared; Between 1467 and 1469 Filippo Lippi made the frescoes in the apse,While numerous chapels began to enrich the aisles and the transept; Between XV and XVI century was built the portico Renaissance and from 1638 was completely rebuilt the interior.
The Campanile , part of the Romanesque building, is made with bare material, as evidenced by the numerous inscriptions and reliefs from the Roman and early medieval times present on the stones that compose it.
The façade is adorned with five rose-roses, from the portico, by Ambrogio Barocci from Milan made between 1491 and 1504, and by the Mosaic, signed and dated by a “Doctor Solsternus” in 1207. Entering the porch you can admire the beautiful Romanesque main portal, finely carved with phyomorphic and zoomorphic motifs.
The interior of the church is the result of the seventeenth-century renewal promoted by Barberini and realized by the chamber architects Luigi Arrigucci and Domenico Castelli between 1638 and 1644.
The beautiful floor of the nave is still the original one of the Romanesque cathedral and is of the Cosmatesque type, composed of stone tiles, porphyry and serpentine; The side aisles, with red and white stone diamonds, were placed in opera in 1481.
A further renovation of the interior of the Duomo, carried out between 1785 and 1792, was directed by the architect Giuseppe Valadier and involved the reconstruction of the main altar and the lateral ones.
The Cathedral of Spoleto preserves precious works of art, among which the frescoes of the Pintoricchio in the Cappella Eroli (1497), the oil painting by Annibale Carracci depicting the Madonna and child and Saints Francesco and Dorotea (1599) and the Most holy icons, precious Byzantine work of the XI-XII century donated in 1185 by the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa as a sign of peace.
The apse is entirely decorated with beautiful frescoes depicting stories of the Virgin , made between 1467 and 1469 by Fra ‘ Filippo Lippi , whose remains are kept in the sepulchral monument located in the right transept.
The Chapel of the relics preserves a autograph letter of St. Francis , while in the last chapel of the right nave is exhibited the Cross of Alberto Sotio , signed and dated 1187, one of the best specimens Painted Cross of Romanesque period in Italy.
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