The Intentional Re-use

Date
18/12/2018 - 10/06/2019
Region
Umbria
Town
Campello sul Clitunno e Spoleto
Subject
The Intentional Re-use

The intentional re-use of Roman worked stone in the Lombard period

The Campello church (or Tempietto – i.e. ‘temple’) on the River Clitunno is a striking example of the deliberate re-use of Roman building components in Lombard times, evidence of the existence of common thematic developments in the locality.

In nearby Spoleto, capital of the duchy, this widespread re-utilization forms the basis of an itinerary through the town leading to the church of San Salvatore which, like the Clitunno ‘temple’, bears witness to the intentional – and politically expedient – re-use of old architectural blocks, and the ascent to the Museo Nazionale del Ducato, where several items demonstrate the persistence of this tendency in Romanesque times.

A distinction must be made between the intentional re-use of robbed architectural components (spolia) for ideological purposes, and pragmatic recycling with no ulterior aim, i.e. the simple re-use of building material that was part of some previous edifice – for example in the basement of a new construction.

The Tempietto was built over a chapel that stood on the River Clitunno from material that derived from Roman buildings located on nearby hills. Together with the church of San Salvatore in Spoleto, it is a tangible manifestation of a strategy employed by the Lombard elites to demonstrate their social status and legitimate their power, presenting themselves as the heirs of Classical civilization and culture.