The episcopal seminary was built near the ancient port of Borgheriglia in 1666 at the will of Cardinal Paluzzo Paluzzi of Albertoni, who designated for the seminary the use of the small church of San Bartolomeo.
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MARCO ANTONIO BARBARIGO SEMINARY
The episcopal seminary was built near the ancient port of Borgheriglia in 1666 at the will of Cardinal Paluzzo Paluzzi of Albertoni, who designated for the seminary the use of the small church of San Bartolomeo. Towards the end of the 17th century, Cardinal Marco Antonio Barbarigo, the appointed bishop of Montefiascone in 1687, decided to demolish the previous structures and rebuild the church of San Bartolomeo (1693-1696) and the seminary, utilizing some of the material from the Papal Fortress, sold by the Apostolic Camera (formerly known as the Papal Treasury). It was erected so that part of the building, constructed by Cardinal Garampi in 1780, goes from the entryway door of the village to the house of Bacchi and was designated to be apartments for the professors and headquarters for typography. The structure, was adapted to host one hundred students and guests, which included famous students, such as the theologian Mazzinelli, the poet Giovan Battista Casti, Riccardo Howard duke of Norfolk, the painter Pietro Aldi, the scientific archaeologist Francesco Orioli, and the Latin scholar Monsignor Alessandro Volpini, the drafter of the encyclical Rerum Novarum of Pope Leone XIII. The seminary was also equipped with a rich library of incunabula, manuscripts and some important printed editions of the 17th and 18th centuries.
The seminary exhibits a rather simple architectural structure. Completed with a slightly overhanging cornice, the building’s exterior presents unique decorative elements made of peperino (lava stones used often in the province of Viterbo), which frame the windows and the three-entryway doors. On the main part, in one sheet of peperino, is engraved: SEMINARIUM MONTIS FALISCI ET CORNETI. If you go up the entryway stairs, you will arrive in a room of the first floor called “Salottino (Parlor room)”, which presents a pictorial decoration of architecture, implemented between the end of the XVII century (17th century) and the beginning of the following century, where the Baroque taste for the illusion of space is mixed with a repertoire of classical forms and allegoric. The walls of the room are ornamented with twisted columns adorned with plant motifs and topped with Corinthian capitals, as well as shells, weapons, cherubs, and garland. At the top of which, a series of large brackets supports a balustrade (low wall along the roof). On two of the festoons there are decorations and the words: OMNIBUS UNA SATIS and NESCIT HABERE PAREM. The decoration of the ceiling simulates a blue sky decorated with twirling figures of little angels that are holding garlands and objects that represent the studies completed in the Seminary: the compass, the sphere of the world, a small harp, a book with the inscription HUMANITAS, and a triangle designed with an omega. In the two garlands supported by the angels there is writing that reads: FERT OMNIA PRINCEPS on one and OΣYNAEΣMOΣ ΠPOΣ AΛΛEΛOIΣ HAPXH ΔIHPHMENH on the other. The chapel known as that of the Assunta contained an altar made of faux marble, which before the intervention of the restoration, safeguarded a canvas illustration of The Madonna and Child. On the ceiling of the chapel there is a painting from the late 17th century, which is a little, spoiled, depicting The Virgin between San Francesco of Paola and San Luigi Gonzaga. Four monochrome frescoes that depict episodes from the life of Mary are arranged around the central painting, each supported by two angel figures. Three respectively depict The Annunciation, The Visit of St. Elisabeth, and The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, while the fourth fresco is not identifiable due to the faded color. The layout of the 18th century room or the Academic hall, before the restoration actually took place, preserved diverse paintings, including one painting of the late 17th century that depicts The Deposition of San Sebastian and three paintings of the 18th century depictions The Deposition of Christ, Saint Carlo Borromeo and Saint Filippo Neri, and The Virgin and Child. Of the 19th century there is, The Beheading of St. John the Baptist. The sacristy of the church of San Bartolomeo displays on three sides a wooden covering, one of which contains a crucifix, meanwhile, on the short side there are two doorways with linear moldings. On the corridor walls, which gave the students access to the rooms of the Seminary, there are inscriptions that record the personalities who once studied there.
Seminario Marco Antonio Barbarigo
Translation by Hannah Sbarbaro, Texas A&M University, enrolled in the USAC Viterbo program at Università degli Studi della Tuscia.
G. Breccola – M. Mari, Montefiascone, Grotte di Castro 1979.
G. Breccola, Montefiascone. Guida alla scoperta, Montefiascone 2006.