Posted by: passagetoitaly | March 5, 2010

Off the Beaten Trail: Cortona, Italy: Churches

If you have been following my blog, you have already read my post about Cortona, Italy, here. We continue our tour through Cortona with a special on its churches.

Church of S. Domenico

located near Piazzale Garibaldi

Church of San Domenico

Like any town in Italy, Cortona has numerous churches spread throughout it. One of its churches, the Church of S. Domenico was built in the gothic style, between the years of 1391 and 1438. It has been restored quite a few times, and was at one point part of an ancient Dominican convent, which had been destroyed. Some of the frescoes adorning the interior have unfortunately been lost over time, while others were moved to the Museo Diocesano for more protection.

The altar shows work done by Lorenzo di Niccolò in 1402, which has scenes of the Coronation of Mary, (click the link to view photo of work, by Ray) thus the title of his work. There are also other famous works within the church, such as: Virgin with Saints by Luca Signorelli; the Assumption of the Virgin by Jacopo Negretti (also known as Palma il Giovane); Deposition by Baccio Bonetti; a fresco of S. Rocco by Bartolomeo della Gatta; and other prominent works.

For more examples of Lorenzo di Niccolò’s work, please visit ScholarResource

Church of S. Francesco

located on Via Santucci

It is a gothic styled church built over the Roman ruins of Bagno della Regina, or the Queen’s Baths. It was built in c.1254, dedicated to Friar Elia Coppi, who is buried in the choir. The interior contains a high altar with the Holy Cross, which is enclosed by a large marble baroque tabernacle, which was donated to Fra Elia by the emperor in Constantinople. A third altar bears Pietro Berrettini’s Annunciation. It also contains the works of Andrea Commodi, Orazio Fidani, Ludovico Cardi (Cigoli), and Raffaello Vanni. It contains two tombs, that of the aforementioned Fra Elia Coppi, and Ranieri Umbertini, who was the first bishop of Cortona.

Please click here to view the church.

Santa Maria della Grazie al Calcinaio

The most astounding of the churches in Cortona is Santa Maria della Grazie al Calcinaio. The church was built in c.1484 for the purpose of worshipping the image of the Virgin which was placed above the high altar. It was built by Francesco di Giorgio Martini and completed in 1513, and was constructed in the shape of a cross. Although I was not able to venture inside, its beauty from the outside was evident.

Other churches in Cortona include: (all pictures of these churches can be found on Le Chiese da Cortona. Sorry I was not able to take pictures of all of them, and many of them I was not able to visit. My boyfriend and I spent half the day there, and then went on to Foiana della Chiana.)

– the Church of S. Antonia on Via Bagni di Bacco, featured on towards the middle of the page of Le Chiese da Cortona

Church of S. Cristoforo – one of the most ancient in the city, said to have been built c. 1129;

– the Church of S. Niccolò

– the Chiesa di S. Agostino – a church whose construction began in 1256, but was not completed until the 15th century. However, it underwent several enlargements. It bell tower dates from the 17th century, and its cloisters has been dated as being built in the 16th century.

Chiesa di S. Benedetto – an 18th century church, built upon the foundation of an Etruscan tower;

– the church of S. Filippo, said to be Cortona’s most recent church, dedicated in c.1728

– the Monstery and Church of S. Chiara;

– the Monastery and Church of S. Trinità – the oratory was already built in 1349, and the monastery was later built and unified with the monaster of the Contesse in 1545. The latter had been priorly merged with the monastery of St. Catherine in 1494. The church, previously known as the oratory, and the monastery were later dedicated to Saint Trinity in 1790.

– the Church of S. Marco

– the church of Spirito Santo

– the church of Santa Maria Nuova

Next time we will be exploring the Duomo of Cortona, the Sanctuary of S. Margharita, and the Convento delle Celle. Please stay tuned!


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