Another must-see place in Ascoli Piceno: Sala Cola dell’Amatrice
In the historic center of Ascoli Piceno, next to the monumental Church of St. Francis, located in the east wing of the former convent, lies the Sala Cola Dell’Amatrice, which can be accessed through the Main Cloister. Today’s hall is certainly smaller than the original one, which, in the Middle Ages, served first as the church’s Chapter House and later as the Oratory of Corpus Domini. When the hall became a possession of the Italian State, it was used as military barracks, while the Oratory was used as an armory. After the barracks were abandoned, this hall became the town fish market.
Since the room had been used for different purposes, people had forgotten how important it had been in the past. Cola dell’Amatrice had been called by the Franciscans to fresco the walls of their Oratory and he had painted episodes of the Old Testament showing King Nebuchadnezzar and other characters, remembered for having lived lives and experiences similar to those of Jesus Christ. But when the original ceiling was lowered and covered with vaults, the frescoes, no longer visible, were forgotten.
In 1872, the artist Giulio Cantalamessa, while inspecting the cavity between the old and the new ceiling, realized the value of the paintings and suggested that they should be removed. After having been long kept in the parish hall of the convent, Cola’s frescoes have been carefully restored and placed where they were meant to be. Since March 2012, the public have been able to enjoy the five works back to their original location.
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AUTHOR: Lella Palumbi, expert in art history