The Church of Santa Lucia in Serra San Quirico dates back to the 13th century, although the original church was torn down inbetween the 16th – 17th century.
The order of monks that decided to build the new church in 1650 was the so-called “Silvestrini”, a branch of the Benedettini order. Saint Silvestro, the monk that gave the name to the order, was born in Osimo and he led his life in the area around Fabriano.
The Silvestrini order was not a mendicant order: on the contrary, they were quite rich for that time! As a consequence, when the retirement time was approaching, it was a good habit to choose the monastery of Serra San Quirico, which has now been turned into a museum complex, to spend the last years in peace.
Here the monks could decide whether to leave their money to the Church or spend it to renovate it. The latter won! And so is the sumptuous look of the Church explained. They overdid themselves when decorating even the sacristy of the Church!
We visited this surprisingly beautiful church with Derek Barnes, one of the volunteers that keep the church open to visits.
When entering the church, the magnificence of the golden walls, decorations and details is astounding! The visitor may not know where to start to look at and that’s why Derek was extremely helpful! He showed us many details that slipped my sight.
We started our visit by looking at the pipe organ which dated back to 1672. How did it manage to be so intact? The answer is simple, it was almost forgotten during the last centuries. Derek brought us to the floor where the pipe organ stands, and it’s even more beautiful if seen from a closer perspective.
Inside the church also the chairs have an authentic look: they are quite uncomfortable to use, however, because they are meant to be used only while kneeling and praying.
The church has six beautiful lateral altars that are decorated with the so-called “scagliola” technique. It’s a combination of plaster and colors, where the white plaster is the first layer and the other layers are obtained by removing the parts that shouldn’t be white.
The altars all look the same, but in fact, they are not. Derek showed us the little details that make every altar unique, but we don’t want to ruin the surprise for you. You have to go and see it for yourself!
The saint Lucia, the protector of the sight, is portrayed in many paintings in the Church and has of course a whole dedicated cycle of canvas by Pasqualino Rossi. The iconography of Saint Lucia depicts her eyes on a tray. This applies also to the paintings here in Serra San Quirico, but each time they seem to be carried and depicted differently!
The cycle above the altar was presumably made in Vicenza (Pasqualino Rossi was from there) and then moved to Serra San Quirico. You can spot indeed the paintings that don’t match perfectly the frame they are in!
One post is not enough to describe the peculiarity of the church, also because the Silvestrini monks didn’t go soft on the expenses! Everywhere you look there is something that catches your attention. Even the reliquaries kept in the sacristy are worth a closer look!