Sunday, February 11, 2007

Seven Churches of Santo Stefano

Sette Chiese di Santo Stefano

Santo Stefano is an unusual collection of four medieval churches (originally seven). The main entrance is in the 11th century church of the Crocifisso (seen above). This church contains a crypt dating back to 1019 and precious works of art as well as a replica of the. From this church you walk into the polygonal shaped San Sepolcro which also dates back to the 11th century. Its centrepiece is the tomb of St Petronius, modeled after the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The courtyard contains the so-called Fontana di Pilato (a fountain used by Pontious Pilot), an 8th century basin (pictured above). The next church along is the church of Santi Vitale e Agricola which originally dates from the 5th century (it was a converted Temple of Isis), making it the oldest church in the city. It was rebuilt in the 8th and 11th centuries and contains the sarcophagi of Saints Vitalis and Agricola who were martyred in the 4th century. Santa Trinita can be found behind the 3 churches (interior and exterior picture above) and features a small museum and another open courtyard with water well.

-nic fonner

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