Church of Corpus Domini (1695)
The first convent of Corpus Domini was consecrated in 1695, and was only the third closed Dominican Order in the Province, after Loro Piceno, and Macerata.
It was funded by a local benefactor, Dr Maurizi, who offered his own palace for the new convent, as well as a generous sum for future maintenance of the order. The little abandoned church known as Santa Maria della Misericordia which was attached to Dr Maurizi’s palazzo, was adopted by the order and renamed Corpus Domini.
The convent thrived and, from its humble beginnings with just four nuns and one novice, it grew to such an extent that, by the end of the 18th century, it had become necessary to build a new, larger convent.
In common with all other convents and monasteries in this area, the Corpus Domini convent was decimated at the beginning of the 19th century during the upheavals created by Napoleonic rule, and it was stripped of all possessions and land. The sisters were forced to abandon the convent, only to return a few years later in 1816, when a new, revitalised closed order was established, and permission to build a new larger convent was granted by the Archbishop.
This was constructed outside the city walls, where it now it stands, with the town to the south and farmland to the north. Of course with the expansion of the town it no longer stands in open countryside. The large impressive building was not completed by 1861 when Italy was united into one kingdom.
Again, religious orders were suppressed, but this time the nuns were not expelled, although their land was appropriated by the municipality. The sisters who were in residence were permitted to remain, but they had to pay rent to the town. The convent was finally returned to its former status and the building completed between 1938 and 1945.