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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]

Chiesa di Santa Maria della Pace

The church Santa Maria della Pace was edified in the 16th century round one of the many "mestare" which lined, and still line near the crossings, the most important way of the territory of Massa: the Roman Way that, at the time, followed the lay-out of the ancient consular Flaminia Way and connected Massa with Rome and Foligno.

The sacred image in the shrine around which the church was built, represents the Madonna feeding the Child between St John and St James. It was painted by the Umbrian painter Bartolomeo da Miranda within the first half of the 15th century.

The works began on 8th March 1521 and went on, with changing circumstances, until 1589. That year the church, whose essential architectonical structures had already been built, was donated by the town council of Massa to the fathers of the Third Regular Order of St Francis.

The Franciscans made at once some changes on the church, that, at that time, stood isoIated on the side of the Roman way. It had an octagonal plan up to the second cornice, on which was a gabled roof. Between 1595 and 1598 a cupola was built in the place of the roof; later, in 1623, it was covered with a base. Meanwhile the construction of the new monastery, which begun in 1604 and lasted until 1647, made it necessary to the friars to move the main altar to another place. One of the eight walls of the building was torn down in order to build the main chapel and the choir, completed in 1630. The following year the 15th century-painting was moved from its original place, at present the altar of Sant’ Antonio da Padova, to the main chapel.

The side altars were set into place, too, and decorated with paintings commissioned to the painter PalminioAlvi. Worth noting is, among them, that representing St Francis handing the belt over to the Third Order.

The embellishment of the church culminated as the cupola was frescoed by Giovanni Antonio Polinori, between 1647 and 1649, with Scriptures from the Old and New Testaments.

Curiosity: The frontals covering the lateral altars were made with canary seed as it was popular in 1700. It is a particularly interesting and rare type of artifacts in Umbria. It was called "the marble of the poor", and used to simulate marble. It was used mostly for the construction of altar panels, because the result was of great scenic effect. The creative ideas in these works are many, as evidenced by the case of Massa Martana.  The variety and combination of colors (arabesques, flowers, and birds of all kinds) contributed to the triumph of Christianism. Similar altar frontals can be found in the Church of San Francesco in Giano dell'Umbria.



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Monte Martano Trekking
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An itinerary through silence around the Martana area
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