In a side aisle, a fresco of Pope Urban V (1310- 1370) pays tribute to this pope, who resided at length in Montefiascone, in the Papal fortress, la Rocca dei Papi…. ……and elevated the town from the status of simply castrum (military camp) to citta’:
The Pope – his right hand raised in blessing – holds a sunburst, symbol of St. Thomas Aquinas, Dominican monk very esteemed by the Pope. At Urban V’s request, St. Thomas had composed five liturgical hymns for the celebration of the first Feast of Corpus Domini in Orvieto in 1264, celebrating the Miracle of Bolsena.
And in this stopping point for pilgrims walking the Via Francigena, the frescoes were also intended to provoke reflection on the purpose of this life and the future afterlife. The fresco of i vivi e i morti (“the living and the dead”) – an uncommon fresco motif in Italy – certainly inspires reflection:
Two grinning skeletons – representing the dead….
…converse with three reflective representatives of the nobility (the living), just returned from a hunt, for their horses are nearby and an elegantly-dressed dama is holding a falcon:
The hermit saint, Macario, is above the group, holding a scroll and admonishing the nobility to live a virtuous life:
Another fresco depicts the Archangel Michael intent on weighing souls, lance poking the devil to warn him not to manipulate the weight of the scales in his favor:
Numerous frescoes recount the lives of saints as inspiration to the pilgrims. On a back wall near the exit, a Christ Crucified is in the pointed arch above frescoes recounting the travails of martyr saint Catherine of Alexandria (3rd-4th-c.):
The scenes include the torture of the Saint on the wheel….
….Saint Catherine in prison cconverting to Christianity the wife of the emperor Massenzio, while nearby, fifty philosophers are martyred…..
… and .the decapitation of the empress – after her conversion to Christianity – at order of the Emperor Massenzio:
Another fresco shows the Saint returning to his father his son lost at sea…
…while another depicts San Nicola attempting to save three prisoners unjustly condemned to death:
Try that Est!! Est!! Est!! white wine while you’re exploring the Lake Bolsena area.
I wonder if you’ll think it’s “good enough to die for…”
Read here about the Miracle of Bolsena, linked to Urban V, frescoed in the Church of San Flaviano