TO ST. MICHAEL
The church consecrated to St. Michael and the great monastery complex, which were built above the Medieval Walls, were founded during the 16th century and belonged originally to the Jesuits. In 1601 the Bishop of Amelia, Antonio Maria Graziani invited the Order of the Regular Clercics, known as Somaschi Fathers, to Amelia and gave them the complex. Somaschi Fathers were admired by the city inhabitants and so they enjoyed the patronage of important families such as the Boccarini and the Petrignani and in 1620 they established a seminary on the site.
They left Amelia after the Napoleonic occupation and the church was deconsecrated. The complex became a council property after the Monastic Orders’ abolition law, that was approved by the Kingdom of Italy in 1867. It has been recently restored and now houses the students of the Music School of the Association “Ameria Umbria”, whilst the church is used as an Auditorium and conference space. The facade is very interesting, entirely constituted by bricks with a travertine framing and has two bell towers to the sides of it; the one on the right contains a clock, known as “alla romana”, that has only six hours marked on its face.
It has also a computerised mechanism that allows a bell to play each stroke of the hour. The internal part of the church, even if without any painted works, still conserves some Baroque decor, among which the choir that is situated at the opposite side of the facade and the altar is a polychrome wooded structure. During the last restoration, some frescoed lunettes re-emerged inside the convent courtyard and in adjacent rooms.
They represent Life’s Scenes of Saints, attributed by the ancient sources to Cavalier d’Arpino, while the ex-seminary dormitories conserve two big frescoes representing The Archangel Gabriel announcing to Mary and The Archangel Michael weighing the souls and pushing the dragon. The documents in the archives assign the work to Tarquinio Racani, a painter whose painted works are scattered inside the buildings and churches of Amelia. (cross reference to panel nr. 6 “Palazzo Venturelli”).