The monastery and the church of San ponziano

Located outside the walls in the Umbrian hill-town of Spoleto, San Ponziano is a 12th-century monastic church dedicated to the patron saint of the city.

The Romanesque facade is an attractive combination of decorative cornices, a central oculus surrounded by the symbols of the Four Evangelists, and a square portal framed with Cosmatesque mosaics, carved decoration, and another set of medallion sculptures of the Evangelists. A tall, plain campanile is attached to the northwest corner.

The interior is less interesting, as it was fully Baroqued by Giuseppe Valadier in 1788. The three-aisle basilica has five bays, no transept and an elevated presbytery over the crypt. A cabinet behind the altar contains the relics of St. Ponziano, which are carried to the cathedral in procession each January 14. Next to it is a painting of the beheading of the saint.

The main attraction of San Ponziano is the crypt, entered at the end of the left aisle. Things improve even as head in that direction: the corridor leading to the stairs has large Corinthian columns embedded in the wall, a Lombard-era sarcophagus, and a 15th-century terracotta sarcophagus.