Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, Assisi

Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, Assisi

"Saint Mary Over Minerva" is what the sign says. The church was literally built on top of the the temple of Minerva, Goddess of Wisdom and Peace. Wisdom and Peace prevailed more or less until about 500 AD. Then the Benedictines came. They did some restorations and moved in. They left the facade intact.

The interior was divided into two floors. The upper floor was to be living space and the lower floor became the church of San Donato. In 1538 Pope Paul III declared the temple of Minerva be restored and dedicated to the Virgin Mother, the "true queen of wisdom."

In 1613 the Third Regular order of St Francis made several changes to the church with the aid of architect Giacomo Giorgetti. The interior decorations were renewed in the Baroque style in the 1700s. The facade of the old temple is left intact. Four Corinthian columns tower over the entrance. Inside, the cornices and altar are of terra-cotta and gold.

In the center of the frontispiece of the altar is a painting by Giorgetti showing God the Creator with angels embracing creation. Behind the altar there is an inscription in Latin, "This glorious temple, already dedicated to Minerva, the goddess of false wisdom (now consecrated) to the mother of true wisdom."

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Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva on Map

Sight Name: Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva
Sight Location: Assisi, Italy (See walking tours in Assisi)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Assisi, Italy

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