Montignano
The origins of the Castle of Montignano date back to 962 when Otto I of Saxony was crowned in Milan as Emperor of Germany and King of  Italy by Pope John XII and he immediately tried to gain the loyalty [...]
Villa San Faustino
The castle of Villa San Faustino was part of the Terre Arnolfe in the tenth and eleventh centuries (mentioned in documents of the abbey of Farfa 1115 and 1118). The castle, connected to the important parish chu [...]
Colpetrazzo
Castle built between 1300 and 1400, it still preserves its medieval structure. Of particular interest is the medieval main door near the small church of San Bernardino. Above the church of San Bernardino is sit [...]
Mezzanelli
The castle of Mezzanelli has followed the fortunes of the various rulers who handled its political life. Once part of Terre Arnolfe, the castle was cited in documents from 1115 and 1118 (Earls Ridolfo, Saraceno [...]
Castel Rinaldi
Medieval village built in 1160 by a certain "Rinaldo Duke of Calabria", Castel Rinaldi was part of the fief of the Arnolfi. Constantly part of Guelph, Castel Rinaldi was often the center of infighting that mark [...]
Viepri
The fortified village of Viepri is wrapped in high hills, which ensured defense for centuries and still seem to hide it. Built after 1380 on the ruins of the demolished castle of Monte Schignano, its rule was t [...]
Martani Mountains
The Martani Mountains extend evenly from south to north for about 35 km between the provinces of Perugia and Terni. They border to the east on the Umbrian Valley and Valserra, to the west on th [...]
Castelvecchio
The village is today very different from what must have appeared in the Middle Ages. Today only some ruins of the fortified village remain, hidden by vegetation. Literature attest it as one of the most [...]

SS Fidenzio e Terenzio Abbey

It is believed that, in the 11th century, the nobles of Massa wanted the abbey of SS Fidenzio and Terenzio to be erected. The oldest building, however, dates back to the 9th or 10th century, when a community of Benedictine monks established itself in the next monastery, and governed the abbey until the end of the 14th century. It was an important parish church, having many churches and castles under it.

The tithes registers show that in 1276 six monks lived there, ruled by a certain abbot Pietro. Afterwards the secular clergy replaced the Benedictine monks.

The church is named after the martyrs Fidenzio and Terenzio who, natives of Syria, left from Rome to spread the Christian religion. As they came to the territory of Todi, at the time of the Emperor Diocletian, they were taken prisoner and martyrized "in CivitateMartana, Tudertoproxima". Their corpses were then secretly buried in that very place where the church now stands. Long before, however, on their tomb an oratorium was probably erected, as shown by an inscription on a stone of the crypt: "BeatusFidentius et Terentius hic requiescunt", whose characters might be ascribed to the 7th, 8th centuries. Their remains were exhumed in 1629 by the cardinal Boncompagni and then transferred to Bassano di Orte.

During the 13th century the church underwent substantial restorations, which eventually gave it its present look.

The façade is made of squared stones in white and red rows; it has a simple portal with a round arch. Above it is a mullioned window with two lights with a small stone column.

On the left side there is a slender, quadrangular belltower, founded on a dodecagonal base made of big travertin blocks. The base has a large dome vault. It is probably a Roman mausoleum of the late Imperial Age.

The grand inside has a beautiful ceiling with decorated tiles, supported by Gothic arcades. A little further on the middle of the nave, a large flight of steps lets in a raised presbytery. In the middle is an ancient altar, made of a slab of travertin covering the martyrs‘ sarcophagus, adorned with four small corner columns of stone.

The back wall has three, tall splayed windows and is very interesting for the several sculptural pieces from the early Middle Ages reutilized for its reconstruction. The bas-reliefs having an unknown date and original function, represent twice-rutted skeins, several floral patterns, rough human and equestrian forms, and a set of architectural patterns.

In the apsidal area is a piece of fresco representing a Madonna with Child, attributed to Bartolomeo da Miranda.

On both sides of the stairs are two narrow passages to the crypt.

Over the left passage is an ambo made of two big slabs of engraved marmor: on the outward slab is a knotted squares pattern, filled with flowers, grapes, helixes and lilied apexes, on the other one is a twice-rutted ribbon shaping big loosen knots, a pattern that, also for its irregular shape, can be traced back to the 9th century.

 

Curiosity: San Benedetto was born in Norcia around 480 AD, in a historical period characterized by invasions, wars and destruction. He moved to Rome to complete his studies, and he saw the decadence of the Eternal City and, horrified, he withdrew into the silence of the woods of the upper Aniene valley.

The solitary life, devoted to prayer and penance, surprise the community of the area and the monks of Vicovaro proposed to Benedetto to join them.

Shortly the moral rigor and the iron discipline of Benedetto arouse envy of his companions who tried to poison him.

Disappointed by the behavior moved to Subiaco where he became the spiritual leader of a small monastery which was organized by him in a new form of monastic life.

Due to some misunderstandings with his disciples, he left Subiaco and move to Cassino. Here in 529 founded the monastery of Monte Cassino. He composed “La Regola”, a complex document with a prologue and seventy-three chapters, destined to become the benchmark of Western monasticism and to be adopted by all European monasteries.

In the famous sentence ora et labora condenses the Benedictine message that combined two aspects of human life, the spiritual and the material. Punctuated by alternating between prayer and work, the existence of the monks, by virtue of stabilitas loci, was to take place within the walls of the monastery.

The Benedictines carried out an intense activity of assistance and development to populations: reclaiming swamps, clearing forests, cultivating the land.

A big contribution was due to the Benedictines in the cultural sphere: in the monasteries there was also responsible for transcription of old books, often accompanied by precious miniatures. Benedetto died at Monte Cassino around 547. Pope Paolo VI, in 1964, proclaimed him the saint of Europe.

Itineraries

Castles hopping….history and legends
9,2 Km – itinerary feasible by bicycle or motor vehicle. The tour begins with a visit to the historic center of M [...]
Monte Martano Trekking
The route is accessible on foot or by bike and is located along the ridge of the Monti Martani. Starting Point is the leisure area of Acqua Canale indicated as a interess in the route map. Continue to
The Via Flaminia Vetus…between Rome and the Middle Ages
Km 6,5 – itinerary feasible by bicycle or motor vehicle. This is the itinerary that best describes Massa Martana and its peculiarities. It covers the area south of the village and follows the ancie

Accomodation

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