Duomo of Nepi

Duomo of Nepi

The history of the Duomo of Nepi

The history of the Cathedral of Nepi is closely linked to the place in which it is located. The many civilizations which have inhabited this small town have enhanced the mystical aura of this site over the centuries.

Since ancient times this has in fact been their chosen place of worship, resting upon the edge of the tuff rock spur, there where the town of Nepi rises. A number of archaeological documents mention the presence of a forum in the vicinity of the building. This is a clear indicator of the intent of the Faliscan people to concentrate their social life and activities in one specific area, as did the Romans.

Navata centrale del Duomo di Nepi
Campanile del Duomo di Nepi
Duomo di Nepi laterale
Facciata del Duomo di Nepi

The first churches of the town

There is no certain evidence proving the existence of a previous church in the area, yet a number of written sources attest to the presence of a thriving Christian community already back in the 5th century.

It can safely be assumed that the town of Nepi already had its own episcopal seat since the year 465 A.C, and therefore also its own cathedral. Other documents also mention an important church consecrated to the Virgin Mary. It seems as though this church was later destroyed during the invasions of the Langobards, who not long after also occupied the town of Nepi.


The Romanesque Duomo

The existence of a Romanesque style Duomo is documented by a number of findings, some of which are still visible today in the modern cathedral.

For instance, some of the marble ornaments and parts of the façade are to be related to the Medieval history of the structure. The most significant relic is definitely an inscription dedicated to a bishop, which is walled-in along the portico of the Duomo.

Both the type of characters used and the structure of the text have allowed the experts to date this epigraph back to the 9th century. In 1798, the Romanesque Duomo was destroyed by the French, together with the episcopal seat situated in the town of Nepi.


The Basilica nowadays

The only part of the basilica which has preserved part, if not almost all, of its original Romanesque style features, is the portico. On the inside the basilica presents a five-nave vaulted structure, sustained by six rounded archways, at the end of which stands the presbytery.

Above this latter lies a fresco painting combined with architectural elements placed so as to give a three-dimensional impression of the depth of a dome. Then, at the centre of the apse, the Triptych of the Holy Saviour, an oil painting on canvas which has been attributed to the artist Giulio Romano.

The high altar, realized in Carrara marble and composed of the sarcophagus and simulacrum of Saint Romano, is attributed to the hand of Bernini. Particular mention should also be made of the crypt: underlying the presbytery, its construction dates back to the 11th century.



The monumental Duomo overlooks the historic centre of Nepi, and is one of the main landmarks to be visited within this town of the Agro Falisco!

Where is the Duomo of Nepi


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