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Point of interests in Rome

TitleSaint Bernardo Church and Monastery, Nepi
Address01036 Lazio Viterbo 138 Garibaldi via
Time1567 - fine sec. XVI
DescriptionIn a letter dated 30th September 1567 Egidio Valenti, Bishop of Nepi and Sutri, demanded Cardinal Alessandro Farnese to announce where a new convent could be built at Nepi, either choosing between the “old” place or the “new” one designated by Vignola”, or even using the St. Domenic friars” site, even if he warned him that it would have been “very difficult” to have had their permission: the bishop also mentioned the controversies amongst the local citizens in Nepi relating to the location, suggesting that the community would have had an important economical role in the enterprise. Jacopo Barozzi da Vignola, the Farnese family’s architect, had already been to Nepi between 1562 and 1563 in order to carry out some on-the-spot inspections relating to some water engineering works, and then he must have drawn up a project for the church complex. In a letter dated 7th April 1571 Giraldo Giraldi, Ottavio Farnese’s procurator, demands the duke’s secretary from Rome, Giovanni Battista Pico, instructions concerning the building of two monastieries at Nepi and Castro, whilst a document dated 21st April 1575, two years after the death of the architect from Emilia, states that the “members” of the Blessed Virgin Mary Committee had commissioned the building of a wall for the church, to be carried out according to Vignola’s design. According to Ranghiasci (1845, p. 188, 201-204) the building, with the municipality cooperation, was “plan built” c.a. 1560 and then assigned from the “Vision Committee” to the St. Biagio Benedictine Nuns. The Monastery is located high up on a rock on the outskirts of the town, not far from St. Tolomeo. The church has a rectangular façade rather like a civil palazzo, with a portico on the ground floor, Vignola style, with a rigid framework of pilasters and string crosses that resembles the features of the St. Giacomo Cristoforo Church’s façade at Bisentina Island (1562), Portico dei Banchi in Bologna (1565-1568) and St. Marco at Caprarola (1569).The altar inside that was dedicated by the anonymous brotherhood is called Virgin Mary Vision as a fresco that had been removed depicted the Madonna, dating back to the 13th century, from an unknown origin and formerly preserved in the St. Pancrazio church.


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