photo © Louise Shapcott
Churches of Alvito
Church of San Simeone
The Collegiate Church of San Simeone Profeta originally dates from as early as 1101. Of the ancient building only the base of the bell tower remained. The whole church was rebuilt in 1527. The church has a beautiful dome and the bell tower is Romanesque in style and also serves as a clock tower. The interior decorations date from the 18th century. There is an elaborate coffered ceiling ornately decorated with gold. The church has numerous works of art of the Baroque period. Among the masterpieces, in the sacristy, there is a “Crucifixion” attributed to the Cavaliere d’Arpino dating from the 16th-17th century. The building was badly damaged by the earthquake of 1915 and was restored in 1934. A stairway leads down from the church to the ex-Monastery of San Nicola. In 1656 the relics of San Valerio, protector of the village, were transported here.
Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Castello
Ex Church and Convent of San Nicola
The Franciscan Church and Convent of San Nicola was founded in 1516. It was built outside the walls, on the slopes just above the floor of the valley. Following an earthquake it was completely restored and enlarged in 1720. Pope Clement XIV (former Cardinal Ganganelli) who had been a master of novices here for one year, had it decorated and enriched with many works of art. At one time two painting by Raphael were kept here. It is now owned by the municipality of Alvito.
Ex Convent and Church of Santa Teresa
The octagonal Church was built in the 17th century. The exterior is in masonry with exposed stones, with the facade divided into two sections. The lower part is adorned by a portal framed by pilasters and a triangular tympanum, and the upper part has an oval ornate window from a mixed frame and also overtopped by another triangular tympanum. Today this place of worship is the seat of the Confraternity of San Rocco and houses a beautiful statue of the saint. The feast day is celebrated on the 16th August with a procession and a solemn mass. It is adjacent to the monastery of the Teresiane, to which it was connected by a covered passage.
Church of Santa Maria in Porta Coeli
The Church of Santa Maria in Porta Coeli was built around the middle of the 17th century, probably reusing the foundations of a pre-existing medieval church. It is the seat of the Confraternity of Saint Michael the Archangel.
It is said that on the morning of the 6th August 1676 a cloud of grasshoppers came from the countryside around Sora. To try to get rid of them, the local bells rang out and drums were beaten to make as much noise as possible, but it was in vain. In the Castello district of the Alvito, the sacred image of the Madonna delle Grazie was painted on the wall, near the Porta Martina. A young man, named Eleuterio Pizzuti, saw drops of blood on the face of the Virgin, while a girl, Maria Pizzuti, saw the Child painted in the lap of the Virgin, raise her arm and bless her. At that moment it is said that the multitude of locusts that clouded the sky, went away and disappeared behind the mountains of Casalattico. At the news of the miracle, the party was rushed to the Castle of Alvito. It was decided immediately to erect an altar and to celebrate mass in this place. News spread of the miracle and from that day people came from miles around to venerate the image of crowds, even from the countries of the near Abruzzo, to venerate the sacred and miraculous image of the Madonna and Child. People who were paralysed or suffered from blindness were brought to the place, and legend says that many obtained the grace of healing. More and more pilgrims began to leave offerings and soon the miraculous icon was incorporated into the wall of the church dedicated to the Santissima Maria Porta Coeli.
Church of the Santissima Trinità
The Chiesa della Santissima Trinità is one of the oldest churches of Alvito, probably dating from the 12th century. The village of Peschio was built around it.
The New Church of San Giovanni Battista
Built in the 18th century as a chapel of the Mazzenga family. From 1928 it was transformed into a parish church, taking the title of the de-consecrated Church of San Giovanni Battista. The primitive dome was covered by a wooden ceiling.
Church of San Giovanni Evangelista
The ancient Church of San Giovanni Evangelista was founded in 1078 in district of Colle in Alvito. It was destroyed during the earthquake of 1654. The church was later rebuilt in 1682 by Duke Tolomeo. The major bell bears the date of 1304.
Chapel of San Biagio
The Chapel of San Biago is located outside the town walls and close to a medieval gateway, of the same name. This was an almost obligatory stopping point for those who entered Alvito along an ancient road that lead from Vicalvi.
The small church was constructed in the 18th century, and was the Chapel of the Ferrante family. At the front there is a small portico through which passes the ancient road. The interior has a single vaulted nave. and an elliptical dome above the presbytery which has a balustrade. The entrance has a stone frame and above it is an elliptical window. A small bell tower overlooks the façade wall. Inside the church, a painting recalls one of the miracles of San Biagio, who is said to have rescued a child that was chocking after swallowing a fish bone. A second painting, of considerable workmanship, perhaps a fragment of a work of greater grandeur, has as its subject the Virgin with Child.
Church of Santa Maria del Campo
This ancient church is found at the cemetery of Alvito.
Chiesa del Crocefisso (Chiesa della Nunziata)
This church already existed in 1632. It is adjacent to the Castrucci Palace in Alvito.
Other churches include(d) the Chiesa di San Vincenzo Chiesa di San Vincenzo o Santa Maria da piè le case, the Chiesa di San Rocco and Chiesa di San Sebastiano.
My sincere thanks to the photographers
Tonino Bernardelli, Italo Caira, Lauro Apruzzese and Antonio Iacobelli for kindly sharing their photos on this page.
Thanks also to Antonio Iacobelli of the Facebook Group Casalvieri e dintorni: angoli nascosti for kindly sharing his local knowledge.
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