Via Aurelio Saffi, 13, Spoleto, (Perugia)
The Diocesan Museum and Sant’Eufemia Basilica The Museo Diocesano is located in the historical center of Spoleto, near the Duomo of Santa Maria Assunta, in the same area as the Palazzo Arcivescovile. In ancient times the area, today occupied by the Archbishop’s palace, was the residence of the Longobard Dukes. A visit to the Diocesan Museum is suggested in order to admire the works coming from the many Spoleto-Norcia Diocese districts, which are reunited here to safeguard their artistic heritage, which is seriously endangered by inappropriate conservation measures, illegal alienations and theft. Hosted in the Piano Nobile—Main Floor—of the building, in the wing called “The apartment of the Cardinal”, the large collection of works was born in 1976, and is recognized by art critics and scholars as one of the most interesting in Central Italy. The collection boasts remarkable paintings dating from the 12th to the 18th century, including works of artists such as The Master of the Strauss Madonna, Filippino Lippi, Domenico Beccafumi, Cavalier d’Arpino and Sebastiano Conca. The sculpture collection, which presents a rich variety of styles and materials, is also outstanding: from the Romanesque Wooden Groups dating from the 13th century to the Renaissance Madonna and Child of the Master of the Madonna of Macereto, up to the bronzes portraying Urban VIII of Gian Lorenzo Bernini and St Philip Neri of Alessandro Algardi, real masterpieces of the Baroque period. Furthermore, there are collections of liturgical vestments and precious metal furnishing items. Completing the Museum Tour there is the Sant’Eufemia Basilica, whose access is gained through the “Cardinal Chapel”, decorated with frescoes attributed to Andrea Sacchi, dating from the beginning of the 17th century. Being one of the most notable Romanesque edifices in Umbria, the church—dating back to the first half of the 11th century—is part of that flourishing architectural stage in the territory of Spoleto that coincides with the maximum extension and power of the Diocese. Among the most célèbre works preserved in the Museum is the bronze bust portraying Urban VIII of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, donated by the pope to the town of Spoleto in 1644, in memory not only of the years he lived there as its bishop—1608-1617—but above all in memory of the complete remodeling of the inside structure of the Duomo, ordered by him and his nephew, the Cardinal Francesco Barberini, who is also Patron of Spoleto.