The monumental complex, consisting of the basilica and the Benedictine monastery – originally for men and later for women – stands on Ciciano Hill, where, according to tradition, the young Spoleto martyr Pontianus, who later became the patron saint of the city, was buried in 175 AD.
The church was built between the 11th and 13th centuries on an early Christian cemetery site, but has undergone numerous internal alterations over the centuries, the most important being in 1788, when it was designed by the Roman architect Giuseppe Valadier.
The façade retained its Romanesque appearance, with the portal decorated with mosaic inserts and symbols of the evangelists around the rose window; the interior, designed according to the new neoclassical taste, was halved in length to make room for the choir.
The crypt is decorated with frescoes dating to the XIV and XV centuries and its original aspect has remained intact. The monastery houses the skull of St. Ponziano, which still today is carried in a yearly procession on January 14. The relic is displayed until the following Sunday to celebrate the feast day of the martyr patron saint. Numerous works of art and sacred objects belonging to the monastery were pillaged after the Napoleonic suppression of 1810 and the appropriations of 1860.
Address: via della Basilica di San Salvatore