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Fermo, Saint Martin’s Church

In via Giacomo Leopardi is St. Martin’s Church, built in 1649. The Society of Jesus, a Catholic order of mendicant clerks founded in 1540 by St. Ignatius of Loyola, came to Fermo in 1609. It acquired Euffreducci Palace and the adjacent church of St. Salvatore, which was radically restored and was first dedicated to St. Ignatius, then to St. Martin. Deconsecrated in 1994, the building now hosts the town auditorium. The Jesuits, who strongly believed in the valorisation of culture and human intellect, during the 17th century found in the expressiveness of Baroque an adequate language to bring mankind closer to God. Considering art a valid educational method, the Society abandoned the stricter forms of expressions to embrace an incisive and winning language, as the one employed by Bernini, Pozzo or Giovan Battista Gaulli. The façade of St. Martin’s Church is indeed an example of XVII century architecture, since the architectural value of the building is given by its scenographic effect. The paintings bought by the Society of Jesus to decorate the interior, which has a Latin cross plan, and the side chapels covered with multi-coloured marble, are inspired by the same baroque canons. Above the splendid high altar by Domenico Egidi is the Circumcision, painted in 1670 by Giovanni Peruzzini, who also produced the painting on framed canvas titled St. Ignatius for the same church. The building also houses an organ by Gaetano Callido, dated 1763.