Chiesa di Santa Cecilia a Spilimbergo


The Church of Saint Cecilia was built before the Cathedral, and has a rich yet little-known history. Over the centuries, it has been the setting of the town’s truest, most secret events, the ones that tell about the hardships of the people of Spilimbergo. It is the town’s oldest church, documented since 3 December 1271 (13 years before the Cathedral was built). It was probably built during the same period as the Castle or perhaps even before that. This could explain why they would dig a ditch outside the church, compromising its own stability.

The exterior

The church is perfectly oriented, and the oldest elements left today are the two windows (originally splayed) replaced by two stone round arch windows in 1506. The northern side features a yellow stone round arch door without an archivolt. Next to the arch’s jamb, you can notice two figures sculpted in the same stone, which unveil the antiquity of the building and the inexperience of their sculptor. The two figures probably depict two saints: Saint Peter, the patron saint of the Baptismal Font of Travesio, who is holding a key in his right hand and a chalice (symbol of priestly ordination) in his left hand, and Saint Cecilia, the patroness of this church, in a long dress, holding a cross (probably Lombard) to her chest.

The interior

The church was likely to be decorated with many frescoes, whose traces can be noticed here and there between the recently restored plaster. These include a Madonna and Child, Saint Mary Magdalene, Saint Cecilia, the Annunciation and other décors. The Altarpiece of Santa Cecilia by Gasparo Narvesa dates back to 1595.
Around 1500, the church was deconsecrated and turned into a mortuary, while the apse was demolished. The steeple was demolished in the second half of the nineteenth century. The entire church was restored in the late 1970s.