Short visit guide

Cristo e San FrancescoThis church, built to remember the St. of Assisi proclamation as Italy’s patron saint (1939), wants to celebrate Francis Creation cantor. The sentence: "At the beginning God created the sky and the earth" can be seen from the front square, while the Assisi’s poor man open arms statue welcomes the pilgrim and invites him to look up. The church, whose construction started on 1949, has been designed by architect Fidenzoni from Spoleto recovering and widening Assisi Porziuncola’s architectural shapes. Let’s begin the visit from the first right chapel :

ST. ANTHONY FROM PADOVA’S CHAPELFacciata esterna St. Anthony from Padova, born in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1195 and dead only 36 year old in Padova, Italy, in 1231, is the Franciscan saint most known and revered. Ardent and eloquent preacher, he is Doctor of the Church. He is represented with a lily in the right hand, symbol of purity, while he keeps baby Jesus with the left hand. Devotion to Jesus’ humanity led many Franciscan saints to a real and deep love for Christ being on his deathbed on the cross (adored as the Redemption mystery) and for baby Jesus (image of the Incarnation mistery). At the foot of the saint are symbolically represented (by two young female figures) corporal and spiritual mercy works. St. Anthony is invoked to recover lost objects, against conjugal sterility, as sick children and orphans’ protector. Mosaic by Vatican school.

ST. BARBARA’S CHAPELVirgin Barbara, born in Nicomedia (Turkey), was martyred nearby Scandriglia (Rieti, Italy) in 306. Girl of extraordinary beauty and intelligence, she was asked in marriage by the most rich and influent noblemen. However, fascinated by Christian faith, in her heart she had already voted herself to God with married love. Because of her repeated refusals to marry, her father imprisoned her in a tower. During her father absence, Barbara asked servants to open a third window on the tower wall, to show everybody to be Christian and believer in the Most Holy Trinity. For this reason, the tower became part and parcel of the icon representing the saint. Her same father, imperial servant and pagan, Christians fanatical enemy, gave her death by beheading. It is told that, just after having killed her daughter, he was burned down on place by a lightning. For this reason, Barbara is invoked by everybody who handles gun powder, dynamite, ammunitions in general: miners, carpenters, artillerymen, firemen, sailors (ship ammunition depot is, not a case, called St. Barbara); but also by surveyors and architects. She is invoked against fire, lightnings and storms. Barbara, whose relics are preserved in Rieti’s cathedral, is also our diocese patron. It is told that, Farfa’s monks, going to Ascoli to escape from Saracen incursions, brought with themselves, among the most precious things, martyr Barbara’s relics. Arrived nearby Rieti’s cathedral, oxen draging cart on which relics were did not want to take a step forward. So the monks, in spite of them, were forced to leave saint’s relics in Rieti’s cathedral, that she herself seemed had elected as her dwelling. Mosaic by Vatican school.

Mosaico APSIDAL MOSAIC is the work that graces and embellishes this church, confering it a quite unusual suggestiveness. It is a 350 sqare meter enormous mosaic wall and one of the biggest single subject mosaic in the world. Some of this mosaic features are: tesseras are made up of a marble powder and glass mixture and are not of the same size; smooth tesseras are alternated with coarse and protruding ones. These particularity confer to the mosaic a quite particular movement. The work, realized in 1975 by Pietro Vitali, a Foligno firm, on cartoon by Luigi Frappi, known Umbrian painter, represents the Creation as an expanding nebula, science and faith admirable union attempt. What Bible reveals us is not "how" universe has been created, but "why" and "by who". Though telling a rather suggestive modality - the Creation in seven days - what is very important to the biblical authors is to convey us this truth: the wonderful artwork that is the universe is not selfmade, but has a bright and creative author: God. It is not the result of an accident, but of a plan and it is directed to a goal. The plan presideing over creation is the man’s happiness, its goal is the same God’s heart, much more huge and good than universe itself. Universe is only a pale glimmer of God’s heart. Mosaic work presents an outstanding depth. From it emits an involving and attracting strength. We feel almost sucked in that golden center, from where God’s love, the Holy Spirit, presides over life’s birth. Each life! More the stare sinks and mislays in the vision, more we feel carryed back to the anlages and relish the greatness, the might and, in the meantime, the sweetness with which we have been made.

The six decorated glass windows represent the "Cantico delle Creature" [Creatures’ Hymn] composed by St. Francis just suffering from blindness. In it, the Creator is commended for brother Sun, sister Moon, mother Earth, the Wind, the Water … and our sister bodily Death.