The Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Piazza
The collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta (in Piazza) was built in 1490, by Onorato Caetani the Count of Fondi, on the site of an existing church. The church was not consecrated, however, until 1508 by the bishop Nicola Pellegrino.
The Exterior of the Church of Santa Maria
A wide staircase leads up to the building which stands in Piazza della Repubblica, along the ancient thoroughfare of the Appian Way known as Corso Appio Claudio. The Romanesque facade is made of blocks of marble. It has three doorways, the central one is in the Renaissance embellished with a round arched lunette in which there is a carving. This depicts the Madonna and Child enthroned with Child, St. Catherine Martyr of Alexandria on the right, and on the left the Count Ornorato II in prayer. This work has been attributed to the Tuscan sculptor Benedetto da Maiano. The facade is also decorated with a large rose window and two arched windows to each side. To the left of the building there is the bell tower which has four floors with Gothic mullion windows, a clock face. It is surmounted by a belfry which has a pointed multi-faceted roof.
The Church Interior
The church is laid out in the plan of a Latina cross. Inside the church has three naves divided by square pillars, with arches made of local stone. The central nave is covered by a wooden vault. There are three apses. The church houses several interesting paintings, in the apse there is a canvas of the Assumption. In addition to the Renaissance altars, there is an elegant ciborium that dates back to 1491 and an altar with the venerated statue of the Madonna del Cielo which dates from 1613.