OF ST. GIROLAMO
The octagonal church of St. Jerome in Posterola stands at the far end of a lateral avenue and it was originally known as St. Mary of the Visitation. It was built to house a holy image of the Madonna with Child between Saints Anthony Abbot and John the Baptist (a 15th century fresco), on the high altar today. At the beginning of the 17th century, it was later dedicated to St. Jerome Emiliani (Venice, 1486 – Somasca di Vercurago, Lecco, 1537), the founder of the Order of the Regular Clerics from Somasca, known as Somaschi Fathers, being in Amelia since 1601 (cross reference to panel nr. 10, “Porta della Valle – Complex of St. Michael”).
Also the church of St. Jerome houses some fine works of art: a 18th century painting representing the Crucifixion with the Virgin and the Blessed Jerome Emiliani (who was canonized as a Saint only in 1767) and a precious 18th century organ made by the master Orazio Federici. Exiting through Posterola’s Gate and following Via Luciano Lama, you find viewpoint where you can enjoy the scenery surrounding Amelia’s hill, sometimes cultivated, sometimes wooded, enclosed by a ring of hills and marked by the course of a stream, the Rio Grande, which turns into the Lago Vecchio, as a result of the dam known as “La Para” which dates back to the thirteenth century. This reservoir was used in the past for the operation of water mills: the stream, through two separate channels, flowed downstream and its waters were so used to activate the blades of mills.
The lake, no longer carries used to retain water, is now used for tourism and recreation. In the distance you can also admire a spectacular avenue of cypresses leading to one of the finest country houses that still exist in the Amerino, Villa Aspreta, an eighteenth-century makeover of a pre-existing structure of the sixteenth-century building whose project, as Farrattini Palace, is perhaps due to the great Renaissance architect Antonio da Sangallo the Younger (Florence 1484 – Terni 1546).
The building is very tall and solid with a rectangular body on two floors, preceded by a grand staircase, elegant white stone with a single ramp aligned with the access road, which is divided into two spirals revolving around a central panoramic terrace, supported by columns. On the sides and top of the steps, the garden develops with box hedges, palm trees, oleanders, and the cedars of Lebanon.