The Sant’Andrea Church is located next to Orvieto‘s Palazzo Comunale, at the point where the Corso Cavour joins the Piazza della Repubblica. The official name of the church is Chiesa dei Santi Andrea e Bartolomeo.
Sant’Andrea Church Orvieto
Address: Piazza della Repubblica – 05018 Orvieto. Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 09:00 to 17:00; Sunday from 14:00 to 17:00. Entrance fee: 5 Euro. Telephone (for reservations tour underground part of the church): +39 328 1911316.
The Sant’Andrea Church was built in the 6th century on the site of the ruins of an Etruscan temple. Before the Cathedral was built, it was the main church of Orvieto.
It is in this church that supporters of the Papal State gathered in 1125 to decide to oppose imperial power. In 1216, Pope Innocenzo III announced a crusade here.
Since people in Rome absolutely did not want a French pope, Martino IV was crowned pope here in 1281.
Nowadays, the celebration of the feast of Santa Maria Assunta, Orvieto’s patron saint, begins here every year on Aug. 14.
As the medieval city began to develop, the early Christian church also needed to be enlarged. Around the beginning of the 12th century, therefore, the church began to take on its present appearance. The apse was enlarged and the transept with its huge pillars was built.
Because of an extensive restoration between 1926 and 1930, it is difficult to determine what modifications were made in the intervening centuries. The architect responsible for this 20th century restoration was Gustavo Giovannoni.
The facade, decorated with a rose window and divided into three planes by pillars, is the result of a renovation in the 15th century. The red marble portal was made by Vito di Marco da Siena, after a design by Maestro Vetrino. The statues in the lunette were made in the 20th century by Antonietta Paoli Pogliani. Ilario Ciaurro was responsible for both the stained glass in the rose window and the majolica and pottery decoration of the portico on the side.
Giovannoni was also responsible for the current shape of the twelve-sided bell tower. It is characterized by battlements and three rows of biforas.
The spacious interior consists of three naves separated by huge columns. These columns probably date from the 2nd century.
The presbytery is on a slight elevation and has a square apse. The rest of the church has a wooden roof, but the presbytery is characterized by a number of cross vaults. The roof had to be completely rebuilt after it collapsed in the 15th century.
Highlights include a cosmatesque pulpit from the early 16th century, a number of austere murals from the 14th century and several very detailed paintings from the 15th century.
The underground part of the church can be visited only with advance reservations.