The Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie
In 1471 a small community of Observant friars chose an area of wood in Terni as the place to build their new convent with an adjoining church, where there was a church dedicated to the Madonna delle Grazie. Authorization by the Pope for the construction of the convent complex on this site was granted to the Franciscans in September 1472. They were thus able to begin work, which ended at the end of the 15th century. The church until the last decades of the nineteenth century kept works of considerable artistic value such as "Crucifixion and St. Francis" by Giovanni di Pietro known as Spain, which is the background to a wooden crucifix from the second half of the fifteenth century and "Christ Crucified Saints Francis and Bernardino of Siena ”by Niccolò di Liberatore known as the Student. Following the dissolution of convents and congregations decreed after the unification of Italy, these works of art became the property of the Municipality of Terni and are now housed in the "Aurelio De Felice" Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. From the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie also comes the fresco attributed to Piermatteo d’Amelia depicting the "Madonna with Child between Saints Francis of Assisi and Bernardino of Siena". The painting graced the lunette above the central portal, from where it was later removed. The original has recently been replaced by a painting with the same figures. The architrave above the portal also bears the monogram of Christ, the symbol of San Bernardino. The interior of the church is characterized by cross vaults, richly decorated with spirals and features frescoes and paintings,some of which were repainted during the restoration of the 1950s, including those by Cesare Sermei (first half of the 17th century) . The cloister with the original well of 1484 in the center consists of arches arranged on two floors, in the lower lunettes of which episodes from the life of St. Francis are represented. In some periods the convent complex was used as a lazaret, military hospital and hospice for the poor and finally converted into a retirement home for the elderly in the last century. Recently the church (entrusted to the Confraternity "San Giuseppe and San Francesco di Paola") has undergone a restoration which has allowed it to be used again. This place of worship is surrounded by a beautiful park on the edge of a centuries-old wood.
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