Tourist Attraction in Ascoli Piceno: Tempietto di Sant'Emidio alle Grotte
The temple of Sant'Emidio alle Grotte is classified as one of the most important monuments in the city of Ascoli Piceno and represents a valuable prototype of Baroque religious art of the Marches. Set in honor of the patron is defined as "caves" because its interior environment is made up of a natural cave. The small church is secluded in comparison to the urban context, in front of the former church of Sant'Ilario, in a place rich of vegetation and silence where already in the 250th, 3rd century AD it was known there were natural ants, linked together by tunnels, used by Christians as a necropolis. According to Sant'Emidio's tradition, after being beheaded, on August 5, 309, near the Solestà door district, in the place where the little temple of Sant'Emidio Rosso was erected, he went on foot so far to be buried, Bringing his head in his hands. At a later time, at the inoculation of the body of the saint, these caves were turned into oratory and inside they were placed an altar and small ornaments. The mortal remains of the patron and his disciples rested here for over four centuries, until the translation of their remains inside the cathedral of Ascoli where they now rest in the sacred sachet of the crypt of Sant'Emidio. This temple is one of the churches belonging to the city's "emidian" itinerary, a path that connects all sites related to the tradition, miracles, the life and martyrdom of the saint. The temple was built during the years between 1717 and 1720-21 on the commission of Bishop Ascolano Giovanni Gambi, family of then Pope Clement XI and successor to the former bishop Giovanni Giacomo Bonaventura. Gambi conferred the design and construction of the temple at Giuseppe Giosafatti, who was present in the city at the time because he was dealing with the arrangement of the palace of Arengo. These, for the design, inspired the style of Pietro da Cortona and the works of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, his master. The temple is, in fact, defined as its most Berniniana work. The travertine facade of the temple is articulated on two separate and superimposed floors, leaning against the tuff wall of the altar. The lower plan of the bipartition is in Doric style and finds its characterizing element, and fitting to the upper portion, in the central eyebrow, protruding on an elliptical base, supported by six Doric columns. Shows in the center the heraldic emblem of the Bishop Goblet, where two pretty cherubim appear holding the prelate hat. The columns delimit the area of the small porch from which you access the interior of the church through the door lined with 2 columns. On the sides of the cupola the lower part of the façade is divided by pilasters spaced by the opening of the two rectangular windows with grate, which are useful to give light inside, and the two niches without statues and ornaments. The whole portion is finished with lintel, frieze and frame. The top floor of the facade develops its height in the center. Shrouded by pilasters, he concludes with a lintel, frieze, frame, and a circular pediment that hosts Pope Clement XI's weapon in the middle of the two puttins supporting the keys and the triangle. On the sides of the downhill descent there are fruit festoons that connect to the Doric order of the first level. At the ends, at the niches, two statues of angels, larger than the natural, carry a palm branch as a symbol of martyrdom and end the composition of the façade.