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RELIGIOUS ARCHITECTURE IN ABRUZZO - SAN PANFILO (Sulmona - L'Aquila)

 

The  cathedral of San Panfilo is the result of a series of building projects carried out over the centuries and is an interesting mix of architectural styles. The tradition says that the church was originally built over a Roman temple and dedicated to Our Lady, then renewed radically in the 12th century, when it was assigned to its patron St Panfilo. After the ruinous earthquake of 1706 it was transformed to a Baroque style that has, in part, survived, despite recent restoration. In the lower section of the facade with its horizontal 18th century corona, there is an ogival portal bordered by a handsome cornice of Gothic tendency that continues along the entire right side. This is flanked by a motif of columns that support two small Gothic niches containing statues of St Pelino and St Panfilo, the work of Nicola di Salvitto (1391) who also sculpted a now-lost rosette. In the lunette, a fresco (late 1300s) by Leonardo da Teramo. The side door leading to the sacristy is 17th century and the bell tower is 18th century. The portal that opens on the left is Romanesque as are the three apses, horizontally cadenced with a cornice of pensile arches resting on brackets with various anthropomorphous and phytomorphous ornamental motifs. It is interesting to note that in the centre of the city's coat of arms the initials of Ovid's famous hemistich Sulmo mihi patria est have been added. Despite extensive modifications to the interior, the building maintains its basilica layout of a nave and two aisles, cadenced by Romanesque columns. Above the entrance there is a handsome gilt wood organ of the 18th century, whilst the vault of the chief nave has tempera paintings by Amedeo tedeschi (1906) depicting episodes from the lives of St. Panfilo and St Pietro Celestino V.  The 18th century altar is in polychromatic marbles. A staircase at the end of the central nave leads down to the crypt, definitely the most ancient part of the building. The remains of the patron saint are kept beneath an elegant marble niche constructed in 1662 and the reliquary bust is a 16th century work by the Sulmonese goldsmith, Giovanni di Marino di Cicco.

 
         
 

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