The story-telling façade of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Spoleto
The magnificent façade of the Basilica of Saint Peter Outside the Walls, in Spoleto, dates back to the end of the 12th century, and to this day remains a treasure trove of iconography.
It features scenes from the New Testament with Christ and the Saints (Peter, Andrew, the Archangel Michael) as well as Medieval allegorical tales, reinterpreted from the point of view of Christianity: men run away from lions that symbolize evil are set side by side with Jesus washing Peter and Andrew’s feet; the calling of the two brothers and saints is right next to the fox and crows of a fable on corruption…
The church was originally built in the 5th century, and re-built in 1329 after the damage caused during the battles between the local Guelphs and Ghibellines; the structure was further renovated in the late 1600s.
But the façade remains an almost completely intact example of Umbrian Romanesque style, and still speaks – splendidly – the rich and plastic language of Medieval art.