The Santa Maria Nuova Church in Viterbo was built in the 11th century, on the site of an early Christian church. There is a story attached to the triptych above the altar. The monastery courtyard is also a well-known attraction.
Santa Maria Nuova Church Viterbo
Address, opening times and entrance fee
The address of the Santa Maria Nuova Church is Piazza Santa Maria Nuova, snc – Viterbo. Opening hours: 07.00 to 19.00. Opening hours cloister: 10.00 to 12.00 and 16.00 to 19.00. Entrance fee: free.
History and description
The Santa Maria Nuova church was commissioned by the family of a priest named Biterbo (or Bitervo) and stands on the site of an earlier church, which could even date from the 4th century.
In 1080, the church and its hospital were donated to the city of Viterbo. Construction had yet to be completed at that time. In return for the gift, however, the city had to promise to accommodate pilgrims.
The church was where the city treasury an archives were stored.
From the pulpit at the corner of the church, Thomas Aquinas once preached.
The interior consists of 3 naves, separated by two rows of columns. The wooden ceiling dates from the 15th century.
A small marble column can be seen on the left, describing the aforementioned donation.
What to see
Above the altar is a triptych depicting Jesus. According to a 1283 document it was found by two peasants, loseffo de lo Croco and loanne de la Cipolla, when their oxen could not continue plowing as they were blocked by a stone box with the painting inside. It was brought to the church by six priests. The event is commemorated every year on August 14.
The central altar, made of the peperino stone, dates back to the 12th century.
The fresco “Christ on the Cross between Saints and Angels” by Balletta dates back to the 15th century.
A second “Christ on the Cross between Mary and Saints” was produced by the school of Cimabue (1293).
The third “Christ on the Cross between the Madonna and Saints” was painted by Matteo Giovannetti (15th century).
The 16th century fresco ” San Giovanni, San Girolamo, San Lorenzo and the Client” was painted by Pastura in the 16th century.
A “Madonna and Child, John the Baptist and Christ,” was also painted by Balletta.
The tabernacle in the apse dates from the 12th and the wooden cross from the 17th century.
The Chiostro Longobardo
To the left of the church is a beautiful cloister, restored in 1954, which is attributed to the lombards. However, part of this cloister is early Christian in origin. The shape of the columns is similar to those of the Santa Maria in Cella and San Sisto Church.