COURTYARD OF THE CHURCH OF SANTISSIMA TRINITÀ
VITERBO CITY OF ART – COURTYARD OF THE CHURCH OF SANTISSIMA TRINITÀ.
Translation by Kendall Swanson, University of Iowa, enrolled in the USAC Viterbo program at Università degli Studi della Tuscia.
On the right of the church of SS Trinità opens a beautiful door (dated 1625) that gives access to the Renaissance courtyard. On top of the door there is the coat of arms of the Augustinian Order and of the Cardinal Egidio Antonini, Viterbese and general of the Order.
The refined courtyard, existing since the 13th century, when the first Augustinian church was erected, it was almost totally reconstructed in 1513 by cardinal Egidio Antonini on a project by a Viterbese scupltor, Pier Domenico Ricciarelli. For the construction he used 36 monolithic colomns prepared for a expansion of the church that was never made. The ceiling of the four sides are cross vaulted. On the East side, overlooking the church, a second level was developed with a elegant balustrade loggia, made in 1637. At the center is a fountain incased in slabs of peperino (lava stone) with a square base. On one side of the courtyard, in a low-arch niche, there is a rectangular fountain from the 13th century. The walls and the lunettes of the courtyard, were frescoed in between the end of 500 and beginning of 600 by Marzio Ganassini and the Viterbese master Giacomo Cordelli, who contributed the lunettes of the South and North sides. The theme of decoration, achieved thanks to the donation of the Viterbese nobleman Giamcomo Nini, tells the story of S.Augustine in the squares, and the biblical episodes in the lunettes. The paintings were restored in 1984.
The first construction was made in the first half of the 13th century, the complex was revised extensively over the centuries. Among the rich environment of the church, four rooms stood out: the chapel and reception room, the dining hall, the chapter house, and the library. During the church construction, the reception room was used as a chapel, where the image of Madonna Liberatrice was guarded and in which the 4 paintings, donated to the convent by Pope Pio X in the 19th century, are conserved. The dining room was used by the monks and the chapter house and library is where volumes of books dating back to the 17th-19th century are kept.
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