Viterbo. Former Church of Santa Maria del Suffragio

The church of Santa Maria del Suffragio was built in 1572 with the demolition of a previous medieval church in Viterbo dedicated to San Quirico.

Its name derives from the Confraternity of the Souls of Purgatory or of Santa Maria del Suffragio that has managed it since 1618 by undertaking various jobs.

The current Baroque façade dates back to the eighteenth century and shows a play of colours between light peperino stone and plaster and is divided into two parts.

In the lower one it is characterized by a large entrance door surmounted by decorations and by a fresco of a Madonna with the souls of Purgatory.

The meaning of the painting refers to the mission of the Confraternity which was to raise funds to celebrate functions in suffrage of the souls in purgatory.

At the sides of the door there are two empty niches while, on the upper part, a series of decorations and architectural plays, typical of the Baroque, are closed with a tympanum with the coat of arms of Bishop Brancaccio of Viterbo.

The interior has a single nave and the space is dominated by a large painting on the ceiling that once again represents God in glory between the Madonna and Jesus with the souls in Purgatory.

The church has a baroque appearance with rich decorations and games of multicoloured marble.

In addition to the main altar, there are four side altars embellished with important works such as a 1730 fresco by Luigi Vanvitelli depicting the prophet Habakkuk and the Angel and the prophet Daniel in the lion pit.

Above the high altar there is an altarpiece by the painter Francesco Maria Bonifazi of Viterbo that represents a Madonna with Child and an Angel who presents a soul that leaves Purgatory.

The painter is also the artist of a painting of 1630 inserted in a large baroque aedicule and representing Saint John the Baptist baptizing Jesus.

Above the entrance door there is a choir with an interesting organ from 1777 created by Raffaele and Domenico Fedeli di Camerino.

Written by:
Benedicta Lee

Born in Rome from an Italian mother and American father, she works as a freelance communications manager and designer in the tourism sector, a career and interest which she is pursuing with a...


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