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Crypt of San Primiano - Spoleto (PG)
In the area where the magnificent Romanesque cathedral dedicated to the Assumption stands around the 10th century, the Bishop's Palace and three sacred buildings were positioned: the ancient early medieval cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria, the baptistery of San Michele Arcangelo and the tribune of San Primiano , almost certainly an ecclesia martyrum.
The only surviving element of the pre-Romanesque buildings is the crypt of the San Primiano tribune, dating back to the 9th century, located below the chapel of the Relics, which is accessed through the rectory.
The memory of a martyr, named Primiano, had a very ancient cult in the Cathedral of Spoleto, but there is no reliable information about him.
The tribune of San Primiano is named in a decree of the Spoleto Bishop Andrea which bears the date of the year 1067 and is still preserved today in the Chapter Archives of the Cathedral of Spoleto.
Perhaps already damaged by the assault of Barbarossa in 1155, it was certainly largely demolished to make way for the new cathedral, only the apse and the underlying crypt survived.
This decree establishes the Rectory of the Cathedral of Spoleto and assigns property to it. In the description of the boundaries, the tribune of San Primiano is named and located «terra que iuxta ecclesia adjacent cum domibus et sine domibus. Latera vero eiusdem terrae ec sunt: ​​primum latus Ecclesia, secundum latus descendens ab ostio ecclesie per gradus in viam, que infra se continet terra et domum, et hortum presbyteri Petri eiusdem ecclesiae famuli, et domum Joannis similiter usque in Trivuna S. Primiani ".
The priest Serafini, perhaps a direct witness of the event, narrates that during the restoration of the Cathedral of Spoleto in the year 1653, seven different relics of saints were found in the stone column of the main altar, including: «itemque unum cranium quod esse putaverunt huiusmet S. Primiani, quamvis nomine minime esset consignatum ". Serafini himself adds, without indicating the source from which he draws the news, that the relics were deposited here «to Pope Honorio tertio in consecratione eius Altaris An. 1216. 30 Augusti ".
The apse of San Primiano survived the reconstruction of the Cathedral until the sixteenth century, at which time it was probably used by the canons and was accessed directly from their cloister (to the left of the Duomo). It was demolished in 1540 to make way for the Chapel of the Relics.
The existence of the crypt is reported in the Third Chapter Book, one of the registers of the deliberations of the Cathedral Chapter, on c. 152 r. under the date November 4, 1630, we read: «Mons. Prior explained, that the day before in the spiritual Chapter brought forward Mons. Illlmo. Bishop in the Sacristy had read a memorial given by the Congregatione del Consortio, where the Chapter was asked for an underground room that is near the sacristy of Sma Cona under the Cappella del Glandio, to make two burials, one for the priests of the d. Congregatione , and the other for the secular benefactors; adding more that the Operal Lords also said that they wish to have a spatio in that room to be able to transport the bones of the dead who are now in the cemeterium under the hall of the Smo Chapel. Sacramento, since under that place it must be built for the service of the foundations of the said Chapel ». The Sacristy of the Santissima Cona is the current Chapel of the Relics.
On the basis of these documents, the existence of the crypt was confirmed by the most illustrious Spoleto archaeologist, Giuseppe Sordini, who was the first to explore it in modern times.
The only original portion of the ancient early medieval cathedral was almost certainly under the apse of San Primiano, which suggests that this church was arranged transversely to the current cathedral. It has a semi-annular shape, has a barrel vaulted roof, two conch slits and a circular hole give light to the room
It preserves frescoes dating back to the ninth no longer legible, perhaps depicting Stories of San Benedetto and Santa Scolastica.

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Silvio Sorcini (Silvio1953) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 19878 W: 130 N: 42029] (221593)
  • Genre: Plaatsen
  • Medium: Kleur
  • Date Taken: 2022-04-10
  • Belichting: f/0.1, 30 Seconden
  • Fotoversie: Originele versie
  • Date Submitted: 2022-04-10 4:35
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Points: 20
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Additional Photos by Silvio Sorcini (Silvio1953) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 19878 W: 130 N: 42029] (221593)
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