San Pietro in Valle: beauty is in the details
The church of San Pietro in Valle – in Ferentillo, in the province of Terni – is composed of infinite details that emerge from the frescoed walls, the single nave’s floor, the apse.
Everywhere in this church – which according to popular tradition was built in the 8th century by Faroald II, Duke of Spoleto, by explicit order of Saint Peter, who appeared to him in dream – something small catches your gaze.
There are the characters depicted in the 12th-century fresco cycle, which originally unfolded on the walls around the nave, across the triumphal arch and counter-façade: the calm countenance of Jesus as he enters Jerusalem, the clothes worn by the thieves that were crucified with him on the Calvary, the calm eyes of Saint Peter.
There is the posture of the two mysterious bas-relieve figures that decorate the front of the main altar, surmounted by three crosses inscribed in circles. Dating back to the time of the Longobards, they have kept scholars guessing about their correct interpretation for centuries.
Experts have also been studying the frescoes of this church – whose structure was completed only in the Romanesque period –for years. They are trying to establish whether the works are related, in terms of iconography, to the Rome’s artistic milieu of the late 12th century, and in particular to the style of the decorations in San Giovanni a Porta Latina (Saint John Before the Latin Gate), which preluded to the following century’s revolution in painting.
Today, a beautiful luxury hotel has opened in the monastery buildings that surround the church of San Pietro in Valle.
Here, every little detail is full of infinite wonder.