Foligno - Encyclopedia

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FOLIGNO (anc. Fulginiae, q.v.), a town and episcopal see of Umbria, Italy, 771 ft. above sea-level, in the province of Perugia, from which it is 25 M. S.E. by rail. Pop. (1901) 9532 (town), 26,278 (commune). It lies in a fertile plain, on the Topino, a tributary of the Tiber; it is almost square in shape and is surrounded by walls. It is a picturesque and interesting town; several of its churches contain paintings by Umbrian masters, notably works by Niccolo di Liberatore (or Niccolo Alunno, 1430-1502), and among them his chief work, a large altar-piece (the predella of which is in the Louvre) in S. Niccolo. The cathedral has a romanesque S. facade of 1133, restored in 1903; the interior was modernized in the 18th century. To the left of the choir is an octagonal chapel by Antonio da Sangallo the younger (1527). In the same piazza as the S. facade is the Palazzo del Governo, erected in 1350, which has a chapel with frescoes by Ottaviano Nelli of Gubbio (1424). S. Maria infra Portas is said to date from the 7th century, but from this period only the columns of the portico remain. Raphael's "Madonna di Foligno," now in the Vatican, was originally painted for the church of S. Anna. The Palazzo Orfini and the Palazzo Deli are two good Renaissance buildings.

Foligno seems to have been founded about the middle of the 8th century A.D. It changed hands often during the wars of the 13th century, and was destroyed by Perugia in 1281. From 1305 to 1439 it was governed by the family of the Trinci as deputies of the Holy See, until in the latter year one of its members went against the church. Pope Eugene IV. sent a force against Foligno, to which the inhabitants opened their gates, and the last of the Trinci, Corrado II., was beheaded. Henceforth Foligno belonged to the states of the church until 1860. It suffered from a severe earthquake in 1832. Foligno is a station on the main line from Rome (via Orte) to Ancona, and is the junction for Perugia. Three miles to the E. is the abbey of Sassovivo with cloisters of 1229, very like those of S. Paolo fuori le Mura at Rome, with pairs of small columns supporting arches, and decorations in coloured mosaic ("Cosmatesque" work). The church has been modernized.

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