Monteleone: between Rite and Myth

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Palaces and Monuments

Moriconi Palace and Porta Vecchia

Typology: mansion and city gate
Chronology: XIV-XV and XIII century
The late Medieval Moriconi Palace (with the coat of arms on the facade) is located close to the first wall of the town and occupies the next walls of the thirteenth century, near Porta Vecchia or Porta di Sant’Agnese (thirteenth century passage partially transformed in the modern age to allow the passage of the vehicles).
Il tardomedievale Palazzo Moriconi sorge a ridosso della prima cinta muraria cittadina e utilizza le successive mura di fase duecentesca, in prossimità di Porta Vecchia (detta anche di Sant’Agnese, in ricordo dell’antico monastero soppiantato agli inizi del XIV secolo da quello di Santa Caterina), che si presenta oggi tozza e priva dell’originaria sopraelevazione, nonché parzialmente trasformata per consentire il passaggio dei veicoli.
Sul prospetto del caseggiato è lo stemma della famiglia Moriconi (tre monti dai quali sorge un bastone con un crescente lunare sulla punta; in basso una ruota o macina a otto raggi). La facciata ha purtroppo parzialmente perduto la sua armonia a causa dell’apertura posticcia di nuove porte e finestre, nonché per l’alterazione di quelle originali.
Più a monte di Porta Vecchia è un’abitazione con chiave di volta del portale decorata a rilievo e nicchia contenente un rovinato dipinto della Madonna con il Bambino di XVIII secolo.

Further upstream of Porta Vecchia there is a house with a decorated keystone on the portal and a niche containing a ruined painting of the Madonna and the Child of the eighteenth century. Moriconi Palace is located at the end of Via Cesare Battisti, outside the walls of the village and exactly on the second wall of Monteleone di Spoleto, at Porta Vecchia, of the thirteenth century and upstream of the fifteenth Porta Nuova delle Monache and of the houses belonging to the Convent of Santa Caterina. As a result of the expansion of the town and the extension of the wall, in fact, the old walls are no longer used for a defensive purposes and are therefore reused in the construction of new manufactured. Porta Vecchia is today stocky and lacking of original superior part, traces of which remain visible inside and outside, with a low arch (whose double ring above is very irregular) and an irregular architectural facing. The left side, on which stands Moriconi Palace, is in fact a modern and clumsy recovery of the original arch, with a different degree of curvature, adapted for the passage of the vehicles. This gate is also known as Porta di Sant’Agnese, in memory of the ancient monastery, supplanted at the beginning of the fourteenth century by Santa Caterina. On the faade of the building there is the emblem of Moriconi family, with a shield whose shape mimics that of a pennant, particularly widespread in the Umbrian area between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries; in the center there are three mountains, from which rises a stick with a crescent moon on the tip (a symbol that finds similarities with the cult of the Mesopotamian moon goddess Sin), and down a wheel or a mill with eight rays (solar symbol). The facade of the building, originally plastered and on three levels, has unfortunately lost its harmony partially due to the opening, in modern times, of new doors and windows, as well as the alteration of the original ones with windows and doors, contrasting with the historic nature of the building. The palace take its owner’s name, of whom there are records dating from XIV century, when a Giovannuccio Moriconi founded a second hospital in the church of San Giacomo (with the approval of Bishop Bartolomeo de’ Bardi in 1332), to house the sick poor people. Moriconi family has also among its members: "D. Dominico, D. Antonio applied in Rome in the offices of the Apostolic Dataria around 1600 and many other jurists" (Apostolic Dataria is an office of the Roman Curia, established in XIV century with the name of Dataria de’ Brevi; it has various competences, bringing to the attention of the Pope related issues of benefit and ecclesiastical pensions, prelature clothing and insignia, matrimonial dispensations, requests for grace). In 1650 Giovanna Moricona is the abbess of Santa Caterina. In the early eighteenth century a certain Paolo (who has lived in Rome since decades) is in cause with his family members for a hereditary succession of Fabio Moriconi. A certain Ludovico Moricone is remembered, finally, in 1712 as a devotee and benefactor of the country chapel of the Madonna della Cerqua. Going back to Porta Vecchia, a little further upstream and immediately on the right, there is a house whose beautiful stone portal, with pointed-arch, has a keystone with a rampant lion in relief and a niche with a ruined votive painting, depicting a Madonna and the Child (local work of the eighteenth century).