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Church of Santi Stefano e Giacomo [Saints Stephen and James] (formerly Sant’Ignazio [Saint Ignatius])


Potenza Picena

The Jesuit college of Potenza Picena was built thanks to legacies left in the wills of some wealthy citizens. The architect appointed for the project was the Jesuit Giovanni De Rosis who made a sketch of the plan on site and went on to complete the drawings upon his return to Rome. The final design for the entire structure shows a single chamber with six minor chapels along the sides. Under the supervision of master mason Giovan Battista Gabbrielli and the Pesaro architect Guido Guidangeli, building began in May 1585 with the college and then proceeded on, in 1631, to the construction of the church, which was initially dedicated to Saint Ignatius. Changes were then made to the De Rosis design and many difficulties ensued before the building was completed, until the suppression of the Company of Jesus in 1773, with the consequent absence of the Jesuits for about twenty years. At the end of the 18th century the affairs of the building became enmeshed with those of the collegiate of Santo Stefano which was transferred, along with the chapter house, to the church thus changing both its popular name and its dedication. The new collegiate church was not modified architecturally, except for the sacristy that was reconstructed by re-using material from the old demolished parish church. By the end of the 20th century the building had fallen into severe decay, a trend which was reversed in 1997 by a significant renovation effort. Today the church has a single nave plan terminating in an apse with a shell basin.