Campello Church

Campello sul Clitunno – Lombard ‘Tempietto’,  7th – 8th century AD

The building has the appearance of a small Roman temple standing on a high podium; the front consists of four Corinthian columns and the forward extensions of the side walls of the chamber.

The facade has splendid columns covered in leaves and the architrave bears an inscription in strikingly carved, square Roman capital letters invoking “God of the angels”, that was probably accompanied by further inscriptions on the two side porticoes.

Its distinctive shape, which brings to mind Greek and Roman period temples, has led to wide-ranging debate about the building’s use and date. Recent studies have established that it belongs to the Lombard era, from the early 7th to the mid-8th century. It is, however, the result of at least two closely-spaced building phases.

Two side stairways give access to the ‘temple’; inside, fine wall paintings surround a marble shrine in the apse that features re-used Roman blocks and Lombard decorations. The continuous entablature that embraces the entire monument clearly served to unite later components with parts of an earlier structure.

The building’s overall design and the strongly Classical style – due to original Roman elements and also exhibited by intentionally produced subsequent ornamentation – suggest that it was probably constructed for members of a ducal family.

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