The Church of Santa Maria Maggiore (“Saint Mary Major”) is a 12th century Gothic style church in Ferentino. The church was constructed by Cistercian monks and is located close to the south-eastern city wall.
Santa Maria Maggiore Church Ferentino
Address: Via Porta Maggiore – Ferentino. Phone: +39 0775 244461. Ticket price: Free. (Note that prices and times may be subject to change.)
History and description
The original church was constructed in the early 12th century, on top of an older structure. Consecration took place in 1121.
Its present architecture is the result of a reconstruction in 1241. The church was enlarged by adding the Gothic style apse and transept. The facade was raised and the rose windows and pointed arch portal were added.
The sculptures on the left portal depict Frederick II of Swabia and Constance of Sicily. They were meant to underline the friendly relationship between the Cistercian monks and the emperor.
What to see
There is a marked difference between the Romanesque front part of the church and the 13th century Gothic additions. There are multiple inscriptions and several medieval statues.
One of the highlights is the telamon supporting the baptismal font. A telemon is the Roman word for an Atlantid, a statue of a male used as a column. The expression on the telamon’s face is reinforced by the inscription V Pesa (“Wow, that’s heavy!”). A low relief depicting a lily (the symbol of Ferentino) probably indicated that the sculpture was donated by the city.
The altar piece “Assumption of the Virgin” was the work of the local painter Desiderio De Angelis (1801).
The “Madonna delle Grazie’ fresco adorning the inner facade was painted in the 13th century. It is framed by a Cosmatesque-ish inlay cornice.