The monastery of St. Magnus (or San Manno, martyr who lived in the 3rd century A.D. remembered for the intense pastoral work and the work of evangelization carried out between Puglia, his native region, Campania and Lazio) was mentioned for the first time in 1179 when the Bishop of Amelia, Pietro, assigned it to the management of the prior of St. James in Redere Hospital, situated on the layout of the old Via Amerina, not far away from the village of Sambucetole (cross reference to panel nr. 23).
Between 1188 and 1189 it occured the episcopal donation through which the diocese of Amelia ceded the Hospital and St. Magnus’ s church assets to the Benedictine friars of the Abbey of St. Peter Outside the Walls in Rome, obtaining in return to keep the assistance towards the patients, ills and pilgrims who needed a refuge. At the end of the 13th century, the Benedictine nuns were introduced to St. Magnus; in 1399, at the behest of Pope Boniface IXth, the feminine seclusion cloister of St. Magnus merged with the one of St. Mary in Canale and in 1476 the Bishop Filippo Ventorelli, arranged for almost all of the nuns to be concentrated in St. Magnus: the cloistered complex is now still run by Benedictine nuns.
A fine doorway leads into the narrow cloister courtyard, while the church entrance is on the right. The building is without a facade and it came under several alterations that changed its original Medieval architectural lines. Inside, some fine Baroque stuccoes are put on top of the wall structures; even the altarpieces are entirely from the last restoration, that took place in 1624: Assumption of the Virgin (1627) by Andrea Polinori (Todi 1586-1648), Death of St. Benedict by Antonio Viviani, known as the Deaf (Urbino 1560 – 1620), that is a copy of a 16th century painting by Giovanni de Vecchi (about 1536-Rome 1614) for the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, that was destroyed by a fire; there are also two panels, to the sides of the high altar, representing St. Magnus reviving a dead baby and The Martyrdom of St. Magnus, uncertainly attributed to Bartolomeo Barbiani, a painter who was active for a long time in this territory (cross reference to panel nr. 14, “Church of St. Monica”).
Worth mentioning is the organ situated on the left wall of the church: the instrument dates from 1680 and it sits inside a fine wooden case decorated with musican angels. What is so rare about this organ is that it has a second keyboard with a pedal mechanism and all respective register stops on the ground floor, inside the church: this device meant the organist could not enter the convent where the rules of seclusion were in force.
The second keyboard is connected to the first by a second row of air pipes held on with long wooden braces.