Erected by the Augustinians in 1467 inside the complex of their convent, as indicated by the date on its wonderful portal, St. Peter’s Church (Chiesa di San Pietro) can be seen from Leonessa’s main square, Piazza 7 Aprile (7th April Square). The annexed convent also boasts a beautiful open gallery dating back to the 15th century.

 

The church’s façade, next to the majestic Gothic bell tower symbol of Leonessa which ends with an octagonal pinnacle, was made with local pink stones. Inside, a staircase leads down to the medieval crypt, the old Church of Our Lady of Piety and Graces (Chiesa di Santa Maria della Pietà e delle Grazie), which comes with two apse chapels: one includes a wooden Pietà resembling Michelangelo’s, the other an Entombment of Christ in polychrome terracotta by an artist from the Abruzzi.

 

The single-nave church, remodelled in Baroque style, hosts a rare portrayal of a pregnant Virgin Mary, the ‘Madonna del Parto’, attributed to 18th-century painter Alessandro Turchi known as ‘L’Orbetto’. Other notable works are a 16th-century painting of Our Lady by Giacomo Siciliano and another by Giovanni Lanfranco depicting the Mother of Christ with the Child and Saints Charles, Catherine and Augustine.

 

The building, erected over the oldest church in the village and located directly below the ancient Angevin tower, represents the far end of Leonessa on the straight line that crosses the whole hamlet from the Spoletina Gate to the main square like the backbone of a fish, giving Leonessa the characteristic shape of Angevin towns.

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St. Peter's Church

Designed by Boutegue Vaquier