Passions & Places

Abbazia di Sant'Urbano

Abbazia di Sant'Urbano

The Abbey of S. Urbano is a typical example of Romanesque-Gothic art.

The portal has a limited width and is partially buried by the opposite meadow. The portal conserves remains of four pillars and mullions surmounted by decorated capitals and stylized leaves, a testimony of the ancient Romanesque façade.

The church’s anterior body, reserved to worshippers, has a wide cross-atrium, divided into three naves, and is separated by a transverse wall. The presbytery was reserved to monks, on the left is a simple ambo, and underneath it there is an access to the crypt.

The side naves of the anterior body are Romanesque, whereas the central nave is Gothic. Two huge quadrangular pillars, whose capitals have symbolic, geometric or floral decorations, separate the side naves. 

On the right of the entrance visitors may admire a fresco, dating back to the 14th century and portraying "St. Urban in the See". The Saint is dressing holy vestments and is being assisted by two angels holding a cloth behind him.

Two further frescoes may be admired; the Crucifixion, on the background of the right nave, and the fresco portraying the Virgin with the Christ Child, above the entrance door to the crypt.On the right of the ambo, under a decorative band made of intertwined small arches, you find the narrow passage to the presbytery; two large ogival openings dominate both of them.

The presbytery is very wide and nearly makes up for a church in itself; it is different from the anterior body but equally characterized by a central Gothic nave and two Romanesque collaterals. Note that the apse is decorated in the interior part as well, with mullions and hanging small arches, where three mullion windows with one light are located, to light up the central nave. The capitals have various decorations, all with Romanesque technique.

The crypt is very interesting, it is divided into three naves separated by walls and connected by very narrow openings. The central nave is divided in three naves separated by two orders of coupled columns. Some of the columns are cylindrical; others are octagonal, with capitals of various styles, geometrically decorated without figures.

In front of the apse of the central nave is a square-shaped former altar, in whose stone the aforementioned epigraph bearing the date 1140 is engraved.  The varied structure of planes and volumes and the peculiar separation of the church’s anterior and posterior bodies make Sant’Urbano a unique church in Le Marche.

The various rearrangements of the building have caused alterations in the previous structure, which has not always been restored.

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