Santa Maria a piè di Chienti

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The lower presbytery is on the ground flor of the church, but the tight Romanesque arches give the feeling of a crypt.
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The lower presbytery from behind.

 

It was a grey day today so we thought we would go and visit a couple of churches which we had read were particularly interesting. We were not disappointed.

The approach to Santa Maria a piè di Chienti is not propitious. Close to the Chienti river and the large town of Civitanova, and hence to the coast, the area around the church has been relentlessly developed and it is not until you are within a few hundred metres of the church that the development stops and you are able to see the church.

There has been a church on this site since the C9 and the present church dates to 1125. It is built entirely of brick with very pretty Romanesque arches and with the unusual feature of the east end of the church being split into two levels, with presbyteries on both levels. The windows are made of thin sheets of alabaster which give a rather golden glow to the interior. It is a very ancient and beautiful building.

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View from the west door showing the upper and lower presbyteries. There is a substantial fresco behind the alter in the upper presbytery.
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The frescoes in the upper presbytery, dominated by an image of Christ, are dated 1447. The purpose of the television on the altar was not clear; perhaps to relay the service from the lower presbytery.
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An external view of the church from the east. On both floors, an arcaded corridor runs in a semi-circle behind the presbyteries, with three chapels off that corridor on the lower level. The chapels can be clearly seen from the outside.

 

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