The Santa Maria della Salute Church is located in the historical center of Viterbo. The austerity of the interior of this church is offset by the beautifully carved marble portal.
Santa Maria della Salute Church Viterbo
Address and opening hours
Address Chiesa di Santa Maria della Salute: Via della Pescheria – 01100 Viterbo. Opening times: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays from 17:00 till 19:00; Saturdays from 11:00 till 12:30 and from 17:00 till 19:30; Sundays from 17:00 till 19:30. Closed: Tuesdays and Thursdays. Admission: Free.
History and description
The history of the church is closely linked to that of the man who financed to its construction, the wealthy notary Mastro Fardo di Ugolino. He had the church built in 1320 to increase the importance of a shelter he had also founded. With the shelter he tried to get women who had fallen on hard times back on the right path.
However, the project failed and in 1324 the good man had the Ospedale del Monte built, a hospital for the poor and for the pilgrims who came down the Via Francigena to Rome.
When he died in 1350, he did have himself buried in the Santa Maria della Salute Church.
The facade of the church is characterized by a magnificent marble entrance portal designed by the architect Lorenzo Maitani (1337). Several themes are depicted in relief on the lintels of the portal, including the “14 Works of Mercy,” “Christ’s Descent into Purgatory” and “The Burial of the Dead.”
The interior is sparsely lit and extremely sober. The Fondazione Carivit preserves the canvases that used to decorate the walls. The candelabras that used to adorn the altar are now on display in the Museo del Colle del Duomo. The walls used to be painted with frescoes, but these have completely faded over the centuries.
What to see
In the center of the church is a pink marble plaque where Mastro Fardo di Ugolino is buried.
A second tomb is the one of Alberto Mastrio, lieutenant of the order of lawyers, died in 1644.
The altar is made of the local peperino stone type.
On the left side of the church is a small aedicula.
Although the interior is very small, Orson Welles still managed to film some scenes of his movie Othello (1951) inside the church.