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ANCONA
Santa Maria della Piazza


'AD MATREM XPS(T)I QUE TEMPLO PRESIDET ISTI QUI LEGIS INGREDERE (v)ENIA(m)Q(ue) PRECANDO MERERE CUM BIS CENTENUS (cl)AUSISSET TEMPORA DENUS ANNUS MILLENUS FLORERET I(nnocentius) PAPA SERENUS IMPERIIQ(ue) DECUS P(r)INCEPS OTTO SUMERET EQUUS HEC PHILIPPE PIE DE(c)ORASTI TEMPLA MARIE'

(to the mother of Christ to whom this temple is dedicated you who read enters and deserves forgiveness with prayer when the time is ended twice centenary and tenth of the millennium by living peacefully Pope Innocent and having assumed the empire the just prince Ottone or pio Filippo beauticians this temple of Mary)

Another inscription on the shelf that separates the two levels of the fašade reads:
'SCULPIT P(h)ILIPP(us) Q(ui) (h)U(i)US OPERIS FU(it) MAGISTER OPE...'
(sculpted the master Filippo ... the rest of the writing is not legible)

The inscription on the lunette of the portal of the church of Santa Maria della Piazza in Ancona leaves no doubt about the year of execution of the fašade: 1210.
It was then Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) and emperor Otto IV who ruled from 1209 to 1218. (The call of both on the lunette is a bit strange because in 1210 the pope excommunicated the emperor ...)

It seems that the "Philip" nominated in the inscriptions are not the same person. The 'pious Philip' of the lunette may be a priest charged with overseeing the work while the second inscription would be the signature of the stone cutter who decorated the facade.

We are still far from the modern ArchiStar but certainly Maestro Filippo must have been well known. According to some, he was one of the "Comancini masters" who traveled through Europe to decorate churches. Others want it of Istrian origin (the facade recalls the Cathedral of St. Anastasia of Zadar), others still speak of it as a skilled craftsman following the Templars.

Santa Maria della Piazza was built on an early Christian church of the fourth century restored in the VI and was originally called Santa Maria del Canneto, as it stood in a marshy area.
Later it took the name of Santa Maria del Mercato because in the square in front of the market took place.
In the place before the church there was for centuries the investiture ceremony of the 'podestÓ' of the free municipality of Ancona.


It is due to the 'Maestro Filippo' the arrangement of the fašade (to which the upper part is missing, collapsed due to the earthquake of 1690).
The beautiful decorations of Maestro Filippo express well the feeling of time.

At the center of the first and second level separation shelf on the two sides of the fašade there are two double-ended sirens. In addition to the bicaudate sirens we find griffins, knights, musicians, basilisks, Samson that smashed the lion, players of zither (or psaltery), archers, infantrymen, centaurs wielding a snake, chimeras, peacocks, elephants ...

Every animal, every character, every decoration spoke immediately to the man of the Middle Ages, recalled stories that preachers, friars, merchants and pilgrims scattered everywhere in Europe at the time.