La committenza del vescovo Udalrico nella pieve di Ponzano: un antefatto piceno alla Riforma

Author: Maria Sole Cardulli

Bishpop Uldaricus as Patron of the Pieve in Ponzano: an Antecedent to the Reform

S. Maria Mater Domini near Ponzano di Fermo, dedicated from the 16th century to S. Marco, has a simple basilica plan with three naves. These features, together with the use of spolia and reused bricks, give the church a Roman-looking appearance.
This basilica can be included in a group of churches in the Marka which, according to the most recent studies, dates back to the second half of the 11th century, along with S. Croce al Chienti near Sant’Elpidio, the parish church of San Leo, and S. Marone in Civitanova. They are all characterized by the occurrence of three naves and three apses, without raised presbytery and crypt. Their distinctive element is a traditional simplicity, but they also share specific details. As far as S. Maria Mater Domini is concerned, the choice of this kind of plan is still to be referred to the presumable patron: Udalricus, bishop of Fermo (1055/1057-1074), probably of German origin. The church appears for the first time in written documents under his episcopate and its architectural features suggest a chronology dating to the third quarter of the 11th century. The foreign bishop’s need for social acceptance, in the political context of the Marka under the Empire, together with Roman Church’s instances of recovering Early-Christian models at the dawn of the Reformation, might explain this choice.