Santa Maria Maggiore (Assisi)
The current structure dates from the 11th-12th centuries, although it was built on a pre-existing Palaeo-Christian church; the latter had been turn erected above a Roman architecture edifices, the so-called "Propertius' Domus" or a templed dedicated to Apollo or, according to the tradition, to Janus. The church served as the city's cathedral until 1036, when the title was moved to the current Cathedral, the church of San Rufino. Santa Maria Maggiore was the location of St. Francis of Assisi's baptism.
It has an undecorated façade divided vertically by pilasters. The entrance door is surmounted by an ogival arch and a rose window, dated 1163 and signed by one Johannes, identified by some with Giovanni da Gubbio, the architect of the Assisi Cathedral. The bell tower, built in the 14th century, is in Gothic-Romanesque style.
The interior has a basilica plan with a nave and two aisles, separated by pillars. The walls house fresco remains and paintings of the 14th-15th centuries, including a Pietà attributed to Tiberio d'Assisi and works by Pace di Bartolo. It is likely that the walls were entirely frescoed originally. There is also a panel of Madonna with Child from Pinturicchio's school.
The crypt, belonging to the 10th-century church, is home to Roman architectural elements, such as decorated walls, pavements, capitals from "Propertius' Domus", and a sarcophagus with a sculpted cross, dating from the 9th century. From the annexed garden remains of the ancient city's walls can be seen.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Santa Maria Maggiore (Assisi).|
- Troiano, G.; A. Pompei. Guida illustrata di Assisi. Terni: Casa Editrice Francescana.
- Santini, L. Assisi. Narni-Terni: Plurigraf.
- Page at travelitalia website (in Italian)