The monumental complex, that includes church and convent of San Nicolò, was built starting from 1304 on the area of two previous religious buildings, the IVth-century church of San Nicolò di Bari (bestowed to the Augustinian Friars in the XIIth century), and the church of San Massimo, as well as some private dwellings.
The new building is characterised by imposing and remarkable proportions, in the convent and in the church alike; the convent would become an actual humanistic circle, attended by the major savants, among which there was Martin Luther in 1512.
The nave once featured side-chapels, paintings, frescoes and sculptural works; now it is directly connected to the apse, covered by an umbrella-vault. Among the vault’s ribs, mullioned windows create a hanging gallery by the great effect, that gives movement and light to the whole building. The outside of the apse coincides, in its lower part, with the coeval church of Santa Maria della Misericordia.
The façade is quite simple, with a pitched roof over a Gothic portico, topped by the space of a removed rose-window. On the lunette, a fresco shows Madonna with Child between saints Agostino and Nicola; it was painted in 1412 by some Maestro della Dormitio di Terni.
Two cloysters are in the convent: a XIVth-century one aside the church creates a collonnade scanned by pillars in white and pink ashlars, and goes on along the convent with small columns and capitols; the second one dates to the XVIth century and features two orders of small pillars in terracotta. The two porticoes define the garden, where two stone sculptures by Anna Mahler were placed: Donna che beve and Donna che guarda il sole.
The whole complex now serves as location for conventions, shows, concerts and exhibitions.
Address: via G. Elladio
AA.VV., L’Umbria, Manuali per il Territorio, Spoleto, Roma 1978