The Church of Saint Carlo
The history of the church of S. Carlo is closely linked to that of S. Nicola and S. Andrea, which are also located in the Piano Scarano district. The first mention of the church dates back to 1122, when it is mentioned in a document of the Liber clavium, with the name of S. Niccolò del Piano. Subsequently, the name appears in other documents, first of all the papal bull issued by Urban IV in 1262. In 1560 S. Carlo is annexed to the parish of Sant’Andrea. In the following century it was the seat of the Hospice of Convalescents, founded to welcome and feed patients discharged from the hospital of the municipality. In 1639 the church houses the Confraternity of the Oblates, founded by Clarice Marescotti, the future S. Jacinta. The brotherhood, whose mission was to hospitalize “the old poor and incapacitated for work”, had the old Convalescent Hospice surrender “ecclesiam cum stantiis et horto simul junctis”. Today this structure, remembered with the name of “Ospizio dei Vecchi”, is housed in the building annexed to the church, dating back to the 18th century, while only the structure of the cloister remains of the ancient medieval convent. In 1989 the entire complex of S. Carlo was purchased by the University of Tuscia. Since then, the annexed seventeenth-century building has housed the university’s classrooms and administrative offices.
The church, subjected to a series of restoration interventions between 1994 and 2002 at the behest of the Superintendence of Monuments of Lazio, has a tripartite facade with roof covering and is characterized by the presence of a high bell gable with two bells, of the largest of which bears the date of 1285. The façade has a simple Romanesque style structure with a gable roof. Three single lancet windows open at the height of their respective naves; a central one overlooking the access portal, and two symmetrical ones for the side aisles.
The interior is divided into three naves by a double series of three columns decorated with crown capitals: on the right, on the second column there is a painting depicting the Madonna della Colonna, dating back to the 15th century. The lunette of the door on the right wall is decorated with a painting from the first half of the 13th century with Christ between the Madonna and San Giovanni. Since 2002, the entire architectural complex, called S. Carlo, has been the seat of the Faculty of Political Sciences: the church houses the Aula Magna of the Faculty, while the seventeenth-century building houses the classrooms and administrative offices.
During 2006 the church underwent restoration. The project, commissioned by the Episcopal Curia of Viterbo and carried out with the advice of the architect G. Fatigue of the Superintendence for Architectural Heritage and Landscape of Lazio, was directed by the architect A. Lisoni in collaboration with the contractor ATI Freda Francesco. The work has seen a new painting in “ounce” travertine of the pilasters and columns and in gray celestine of the bottoms of the walls and sails. The new lighting system gives greater prominence to the architectural structures. The old floor has been replaced with gray and white Carrara marble tiles arranged in diamond shapes. Work was carried out to remove the internal plasters with the installation of new dehumidified plasters. A metal staircase was set up for access to the choir and a new glass compass, which favors a complete view of the church from the square in front. The entrance door has been completely restored and the side doors have been replaced by new fixtures.
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