The San Domenico Church and its cloister are located in the Piazza XXIX Marzo in Orvieto. Much of the church was destroyed during the Fascist era. The absolute highlight of the church is the tomb designed by Arnolfo di Cambio in the 13th century for Cardinal de Braye. The Cappella Petrucci is also worth a visit.
San Domenico Church Orvieto
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Piazza XXIX Marzo – Orvieto. Opening hours: Are not indicated anywhere, but we walked by it several times and the door was always open. Entrance: free of charge.
History and places of interest
The San Domenico Church in Orvieto was probably the very first Dominican church ever built.
The church originally consisted of three naves, but today only the apse and transept remain standing.
The Piazza XXIX Marzo used to be called Piazza San Domenico.
What remains of the church preserves the 13th-century pulpit used by Thomas of Guzman for his theology classes.
The statue on the tomb of Cardinal de Braye appears to be a Roman sculpture from the 2nd century. It was modified to be placed on the tomb. The monument was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio between 1283 and 1285. The cardinal himself had expressed a desire to be buried in this church. What the monument originally looked like is not certain, as it was dismantled during a restoration in 1680. The current construction shows two clergymen watching over the cardinal’s body. The Madonna and Child are seen above the monument, with San Domenico on the right and San Marco on the left introducing the kneeling cardinal. It is a sign of the power the cardinal held that he is depicted both dead and alive, which was very rare.
The Petrucci burial chapel is located under the choir of the church. It was designed, by order of the man himself, by Michele Sanmicheli. Girolamo Petrucci was a businessman from Siena, who had emigrated to Orvieto. Construction of the chapel began in 1516, but it was not completed until a year after Petrucci’s death, in 1524. The chapel consists of three rooms, accessed by two staircases.
The original floor in front of the main altar was restored after a 1992 restoration. Seven marble lunettes, removed in 1670 after a fire, can now be admired again in their original spots.
No longer in the church
The polyptych “Madonna with Child and Saints” painted by Simone Martini is now on display in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo.
Accademia Femminile di Educazione Fisica
Most of the San Domenico Church was destroyed in 1932 to facilitate the construction of the Accademia Femminile di Educazione Fisica. From the architecture of this structure, located to the left of the church, it is easy to tell that this was done during the Fascist period. It is now the seat of the Guardia di Finanza.