Religious Passage

The territory of Leonessa for centuries has been passed between the borders of the Diocese of Spoleto and that of Rieti: the territories of Forcamelone, Pianezza, Narnate, already part of Dukedom of Longobardo, that remained under the Spoletine guild when the territory of Leonessa was founded. The city-state, of characteristic federal structure, maintained, in the realm of the Diocese of Spoleto, the sects of San Nicola of Forcamelone, San Martino of Pianezza and Santa Maria of Torre, San Venanzio of Terzone, while the sects of Sant'Egidio of Corno, San Nicola of Poggiolupo, Santa Maria of Croce were subject to the authority of the bishop of Rieti. The singularity of this territorial arrangement determined frequent arguments and disputes for the definition of borders, but, just the same, it allowed for an extraordinary flourishing of sacred architecture and art thanks to the presence of the Mendicanti Orders (they developed respectively in 1282 and 1295 into the convent of Saint Francis and the Monastery of Saint Lucia, while the Augustines founded the convents of Saint Augustine and Saint Anthony during the XIII and XIV centuries) and the activities of numerous brotherhoods that promoted and enhanced the devotion and religiousness of the general population.



Church of Saint Maria

The collegiate church, named after the Madonna, called Saint Maria of People or of the priest, was erected around the middle of th XV century and enlarged during the course of the XVI century. With the facade, in red stone of Aquila, and above, an agile bell tower, it is characterized by an impressive door that hints towards the late Romanesque style even though it was constructed in the beginning of the sixth century (1514): the pointed barrel-vault is sustainede by a bunch of strongly splayed pillars. In the mandorla there is a high-relief representing the Madonna. The interior of the church has three aisles, branching out from two symmetrical series of round arches.


Church of Saint Peter

The church was originally annexed to the convent of the Augustine order, established in Leonessa towards the end  of the XIII century. On the facade is a masonry of square stone crowed horizontally and a rounded doorway, made out of red stone, dated 1467, decorated with bunches of fine pillars and above it by a gable. As part of the sculptural decorations of the architrave is a bas-relief inscribed with the Urbico stem, distinguished by a raging lion that hugs the letter P, a symbol of the sovereignty of the people that was always proudy declared.


Outside of the doorway, but in symmetry with the facade, the masonry in the front opens into the shapes of an eye that is framed by a harmonious centering. Aligning the facade in the slender, pointed bell tower that extends up in three series, the last of which is brightened by mullioned windows. The disposition of the various architectural elements individualizes the progression of the intervention of following structural additions throughout the centuries, guaranteeing a substantial equilibrium that reflects itself in the internal structure of the church, found by crossing an trapezoidal atrium that connects both the aisles and the bell tower. The church was reconstructed into only one aisle on the sides, each which open symmetrically into four chapels.