CATHEDRAL OF SANTA MARIA ASSUNTA - FESTIVAL VENUES
The Cathedral’s construction began after 1155 - the year when Spoleto was devastated by Frederick Barbarossa’s imperial army – upon the site of the ancient Cathedral of Santa Maria del Vescovato, built between the eighth and ninth centuries.
The interior of the Cathedral, entirely rebuilt in the seventeenth century and further renovated by the architect Giuseppe Valadier in the eighteenth century, among other works, accomodates a bust of Urban VIII by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and frescoes by Pinturicchio, Annibale Carracci and Filippo Lippi. The Cross painted by Alberto Sotio, among the best examples of Romanesque in Italy, is displayed in the left aisle. A letter written by Saint Francis is still preserved in the Chapel of the Relics.
TEATRO NUOVO GIAN CARLO MENOTTI – FESTIVAL VENUES
Built in the nineteenth century upon the area of a religious complex which stood on Roman baths of the second century and designed by Ireneo Aleandri, its rich interior boasts four tiers of boxes and a gallery. The external niches house four statues of the seventeenth century, a gift from Maestro Gian Carlo Menotti, founder and first artistic director of Spoleto Festival dei 2Mondi. The theater also holds a concert hall designed by Aleandri as well, and the museum created by Adriano Belli - founder in 1947 of the Teatro Lirico Sperimentale - which testifies the intense theater activities of Spoleto, and preserves letters written by Rossini and Verdi.
TEATRO CAIO MELISSO SPAZIO FENDI – FESTIVAL VENUES
After several transformations of its original wooden structure, this seventeenth-century theater of Spoleto - among the oldest Italian theaters with boxes - was rebuilt in the nineteenth century and, after long neglect, opened up again in the middle of the twentieth century. It is with the restoration of the two precious nineteenth century curtains and the scenic apparatus, that the complete renovation, carried out by the Carla Fendi Foundation, is inaugurated today.
TEATRO ROMANO – FESTIVAL VENUES
Dating back to the first century AD, damaged and already restored in Roman times, it suffered collapses, overlaps and dismemberments before being excavated in the nineteenth century and restored starting from 1954. It accommodates beautiful outdoor performances of the Spoleto Festival dei 2Mondi. The adjacent monastery houses the National Archaeological Museum.
CHURCH OF SAN NICOLO’ – FESTIVAL VENUES
Built by the Augustinian friars on the area of San Massimo’s Church and the ancient San Nicolò di Bari Church, it was an important cultural center for centuries. Severely damaged by the earthquake of 1767 - with an almost total loss of the decorations and the many chapels built from the fourteenth to the seventeenth century – it was restored after more than two centuries. Today, the complex maintains a very large Great Hall covered with truss beams and a majestic umbrella vault opened by means of double lancet windows.
CHURCH OF SS. SIMONE AND GIUDA – FESTIVAL VENUES
Built by the Franciscan friars in the thirteenth century, it underwent several renovations and was finally turned into a barrack after the unification of Italy, but then severely damaged. Afterwards the whole complex was used as a boarding school for orphans of state employees. The imposing façade of the Church retains the characteristics of the local Gothic, influenced by the Romanesque. Recently renovated, the complex now hosts events and shows.
ROCCA ALBORNOZIANA – FESTIVAL VENUES
It is a massive fortress on the highest point of Spoleto, which in the fifth century BC was the site of the Acropolis, a worship center of which no trace remains following the medieval interventions. Built starting from 1359 to reaffirm the Pope’s authority in central Italy, it gets its name from the Spanish Cardinal Egidio Albornoz, sent to Italy by Pope Innocent VI. Residence of Papal governors, among others it hosted Julius II and Lucrezia Borgia, ruler of the Duchy from 1499 to 1502. Over the years it was enriched with decorations and frescoes, many of which were lost when the building was converted into a prison in 1817, whose function was maintained until 1982. After the end of a long process of recovery it now houses the National Museum of the Duchy of Spoleto, a multipurpose hall and an outdoor theater for 1,200 spectators. It is home to the European School of Book Restoration and a diagnostic laboratory for the restoration of cultural heritage. A park, a restaurant, a guesthouse and several shops complete the structure of the complex.
AUDITORIUM DELLA STELLA – FESTIVAL VENUES
Built in the eighteenth century upon Battista Dotti’s design and commonly called Santa Maria della Stella, the Church of the Saints Stefano and Tommaso is one of the most important examples of eighteenth-century Neoclassical architecture in towns. Recently used as an auditorium, it hosts important cultural events.
SALA FRAU – FESTIVAL VENUES
Historic cinema of Spoleto, it has been recently renovated by the Italian firm Frau.
CIVIC GALLERY OF MODERN ART
Inaugurated in 2000, it is located in Palazzo Collicola, noble building of the eighteenth century. It consists of three main areas, the most conspicuous of which was donated by the art critic Giovanni Carandente and includes works by Alexander Calder, Lynn Chadwick, Ettore Colla, Pietro Consagra, Nino Franchina, Henry Moore, Beverly Pepper and David Smith . It has been further enriched with works donated by Giò Pomodoro and Sol Lewitt, author of the impressive wall drawing that concludes the visiting tour. The noble floor, with original eighteenth century decorations, has recently been reopened to the public.
PALAZZO LETI SANSI – FESTIVAL VENUES
Built in the seventeenth century upon the area once occupied by the Palazzo del Podestà, it has recently undergone a discerning restoration. The exterior features an elegantly carved portal and the interior the noble floor which preserves precious wood ceilings and a fully painted ballroom. The building – today one of the venues of the "Wines in the World" exhibition - hosts important exhibits during the Spoleto Festival dei 2Mondi.
PALAZZO RACANI ARRONI - FESTIVAL VENUES
The palace, built in the early 1500s, originally belonged to the Racanis, illustrious family of Spoleto, which between the seventeenth and the eighteenth century was passed on to the Brancaleoni and Arroni families. It is located to the right of the entrance steps to Piazza del Duomo and has a gray façade embellished with beautiful graffito decorations, unfortunately very damaged, which were probably carried out by the local artist Giovanni da Spoleto within the first quarter of the 1500s.The palace, which internally preserves a courtyard with a beautiful nymph , represents one of the finest examples of Renaissance art in Spoleto.
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF ARCHAEOLOGY SANT’AGATA
It was opened in 1985 inside the former convent of Saint Agatha, a medieval complex built upon the Roman theater’s structures. The materials on display - with important finds from the Bronze and Iron age - illustrate all the historical phases of the area, from the setting up in the second millennium BC to the Middle Ages. It preserves two limestone cippi of the third century BC, known as "lex luci spoletina", in which the laws on the protection of the sacred groves dedicated to the God Jupiter are inscribed, in archaic Latin.
PALAZZO DEL COMUNE – FESTIVAL VENUES
The town hall palace, whose original nucleus dates back to the thirteenth century, is now visible in its eighteenth-century appearance, derived from numerous construction phases that were needed over the centuries due to frequent earthquakes and the unification with the surrounding buildings. The only thirteenth-century element still visible is the high tower which overlooks the rest of the structure, while the main body has two views: one on the north side, built between 1784 and 1786 by the architect Pietro Ferrari, and one on the south side, looking on to the Town Square, designed by the local architect Francesco Angelo Amadio known as "Lo Scheggino". This side ends with the neo-Gothic façade of the Brancaleoni Palace, which is the last amalgamation with the objective of enlarging the municipal seat, decorated in 1913 by the Spoleto artists Giuseppe Moscatelli and Benigno Peruzzi. The latter is also entrusted with the pictorial and stucco decoration of the majority of the interior rooms, recently renovated (2007), which are also home to valuable works of art from the former Municipal Art Gallery, including a large canvas by Guercino and two detached frescoes of the Renaissance painter Giovanni di Pietro called "Lo Spagna". Then there are the outstanding "Sala dei Duchi" whose ceiling is adorned with the idealized portraits of the most important Lombard duchies of Spoleto, the "Sala Caput Umbriae", whose decorative program is based on the exaltation of the most illustrious from Spoleto of various ages, and the chapel inside the palace dedicated to Saint Ponziano.
PALAZZO COLLICOLA VISUAL ARTS –FESTIVAL VENUES
The building, belonging to the noble Collicola family, was built starting from 1717 upon a design by the Roman architect Sebastiano Cipriani. The palace retains its original architectural structure, characterized by a central body and two laterals of smaller dimensions which frame the internal courtyard, dominated by a front with three rows of arches. The interior is enriched by a gallery entirely decorated with exquisite eighteenth century tempera, situated on the noble floor, once frequented by illustrious figures who were guests of the palace, including Carlo di Borbone (the future King Charles III of Spain), Pope Pius VI and Carlo Emanuele, King of Sardinia. The valuable interior furnishings, the paintings and the tapestries belonging to the Collicola family were later auctioned off when the family became extinct. The palace was then purchased by the town hall and was seat of the State Institute of Art "Leoncillo Leonardi" for a long period, but today, after careful restoration, it is home to the remarkable collection of modern and contemporary art "Carandente Museum" when in the month of June 2010 the main noble floor was re-opened with part of the original furnishings, and the second floor intended for major exhibitions of contemporary art.
PALAZZO TONI – FESTIVAL VENUES
The palace which borders the left side of Piazza Carducci was built upon the request of Benedetto Egio, who lived in the sixteenth century. Initially, the building’s main entrance was what is now the left side, in the road now dedicated to Benedetto Egio. The prestigious entrance on Piazza Carducci, opposite the church of San Luca (now demolished) was opened when with the work for the internal national traverse, and the subsequent construction of the arch of the promenade, the road network that up to that point had the main axis in Via Egio, was modified. But it was not the Egio family to make the change, because in the meantime the building had been sold to the Toni family, which still today has its name, having owned it for many centuries, until 1926, when it was sold to the state to make it into a Classical Lyceum. The palace also has a dome for astronomical observations named after Giovanni Polvani.
CASA MENOTTI – FESTIVAL VENUES
The sixteenth century palace that was the home of Maestro Gian Carlo Menotti for years, is now home to the Documentation Center of the Festival of Two Worlds. Casa Menotti collects audio, video and photographic material relative to the editions of the Festival from 1958, the year of its foundation, to this date, allowing the visitor to immerse himself in a sort of journey through time for the rediscovery of emotions and atmospheres related to the Festival of Two Worlds and the unforgettable Maestro.
PONTE DELLE TORRI
With spectacular views over the hills and the Tessino river, it is an aqueduct of amazing dimensions (230 meters long and 76 meters in height) made of local limestone and supported by nine pillars connected by pointed arches. The two central supports are hollow and contain old guard posts. Presumably completed in the thirteenth century, it still retains the long and picturesque walkway that connects Monteluco to the historic center of Spoleto.
ARCO DI DRUSO E GERMANICO
Partially engulfed by the nearby medieval buildings, it is located near the ancient Roman forum, with which it formed the grand entrance. The inscription, still visible on the front, says that it was erected in 23 AD, upon the Spoleto Senate’s initiative, in honor of the princes Drusus and Germanicus, respectively son and adopted son of the Emperor Tiberius.
CHURCH OF SANT’ANSANO AND CRYPT OF SANT’ISACCO
Completely rebuilt in the eighteenth century by the architect Antonio Dotti, it preserves valuable works of art inside. The underground crypt dedicated to Saint Isaac - Syrian monk who came to Spoleto in the sixth century and the first hermit on Monteluco - has three small naves covered by cross vaults and divided by columns with Dark Age capitals. The crypt is also decorated with important frescoes from the eleventh and twelfth centuries relocated on the spot in 1971 following a previous detachment and restoration.
CHURCH OF SAN PAOLO INTER VINEAS
The ancient origins of the building is attested by Saint Gregory the Great, who talks about a miraculous episode which occurred in the sixth century. In the tenth century a Benedictine monastery was annexed there and in 1234 the Church was consecrated by Pope Gregory IX. In the fourteenth century, because of the continuous struggles between factions, the monastery was abandoned and rebuilt within the city walls near the Church of Saint Agatha. In 1771 San Paolo inter vineas underwent a partial renovation and only in 1965 was restored to its ancient appearance. Today the Church reveals its late Romanesque form, the portal with three recesses, and the precious rose window. The interior has three aisles divided by columns with Corinthian capitals, the large transept holds frescoes which composed the great thirteenth-century cycle of paintings that decorated the Church.
CHURCH OF SAN PIETRO EXTRA MOENIA
Of very ancient origin, it was erected on the site of a building from the fifth century dedicated to Saint Peter by the Bishop Achilles, who had moved the relics of Saint Peter’s chains to Spoleto. At the beginning of the fourteenth century it suffered considerable damage caused by the fighting between the Guelphs and Ghibellines. The needful restoration was postponed until the fifteenth century. A further renovation was completed at the end of the seventeenth century. The façade, one of the best examples of Romanesque architecture in Umbria, is adorned with a beautiful sculptural decoration made between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
BASILICA OF SAN SALVATORE – FESTIVAL VENUES
Originally dedicated to the martyrs of Spoleto, Concordio and Senzia, the Church is part of a series of early Christian basilicas built around Spoleto in the fourth and fifth centuries. The renovation of the seventh and eighth centuries gave the building the rare beauty that still characterizes it. With other important Italian monumental testimonies to the Longobard period, in 2011 it became part of UNESCO World Heritage Site.
CHURCH OF SANT’EUFEMIA
Located in the enclosure of the Bishop’s Palace, it was reconstructed in the Romanesque period and remedial measures were carried out in the nineteenth century. The interior has three naves, the only "women’s galleries" in Umbria and a substantial "frontal" (lining of the altar) in marble with bas-reliefs of the thirteenth century.