The Church of Santa Maria Assunta (Saint Mary of the Assumption) of Montemarano, also known as the “Cathedral”, is located in Piazza del Popolo, close to the municipal offices.
This religious building was in fact a cathedral from the year 1058, the year in which the diocese of Montemarano was founded, until 1818 when it was closed. There is some uncertainty about the building’s exact origins, but a comparison with other cathedrals of the same style (such as the one in Avellino) would place its construction in the year 1000. Over the centuries, the Church has been restored and rebuilt several times. Some of the works have radically altered the original architectural lines of the Romanesque structure. After the damage caused by the earthquake of 23 November 1980, the Church was reopened in 1991 after a lengthy restoration project intended to reinforce the building’s stability.
Today, the most notable feature of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta is the sober façade, with the centrally-positioned 16th-century portal made from local limestone. Inside, visitors will be impressed by the majesty of the structure, their eyes drawn to various elements such as the bases and capitals of the ancient Romanesque columns. The church also houses fine works of art such as the "Madonna with Child and Angels", attributed to Andrea Vaccaro (1600-1670), the chancel supporting a fine 18th-century organ, the “seat” said to be of Saint John (not on public display) decorated with chivalric scenes and also a series of fine statues, such as the silver bust of Saint John dating from the 18th century, a 17th-century wooden bust of Saint Joseph and the statues of Saint Anthony the Abbot and of the Assumption, made from papier-mâché in the early 20th century.
There still remains clear evidence of the Diocesan period experienced by the community of Montemarano, and the Church of Santa Maria Assunta is one of the oldest religious buildings in Irpinia.
Chiesa di S. Maria Assunta di Montemarano
Piazza del Popolo, 83040 Montemarano AV, Italia