The Sistine Museums

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Sistine Museums

The Sistine Museums of the Piceno is the name given to

the museum network of sacred art belonging to the Diocese of San Benedetto del Tronto-Ripatransone-Montalto, including ten exhibition sites located in their relative church territories.

The entire network is dedicated to Pope Sixtus V, Felice Peretti, a native of this land who also showed great attachment to his homeland throughout his short but intense pontificate (1585-1590). The gifts and privileges lavished on his «dearest homeland» have helped define the historical and cultural appearance of this striking area of the Marche today that boasts treasures of inestimable historical value thanks to his work.

The Sistine Museums of the Piceno was founded in 1998 thanks to an agreement between the Diocese, the Province of Ascoli Piceno, and the Municipality Administrations to guarantee the protection of the historical ecclesiastic artistic works, to ensure their exposition as owner of the goods and museum coordinator, and to share in the management duties, respectively.

The vision behind this institution is not to centralize all of the handiworks and works of art created for the local churches, but rather to conserve them and put them on display in specifically planned exhibition places for the public to enjoy.


The sites of the Sistine Museums of the Piceno are:


The denomination of the network is a concise expression of the wealth, history and beauty that each museum has to offer in its unique way. The riches of only one museum do not sufficiently represent the entire wealth of the region, but the extensive museum network does. This peculiarity is the result of a plurality found in a complex history with Sixtus V as the most important character. The many facets of a tenacious and laborious culture are reflected, demonstrating a love for substance as opposed to appearance.

The Piceno, drawing its geography from a multi-colored palette bestowing upon the countryside an unmistakable beauty, can recognize itself in these museums, where art and nature find themselves in perfect symbiosis. This land gave origin to pontiffs and saints, the first one being Sixtus V (1521 -1590), Montalto Marche, born in Grottammare, who revolutionized the urban plan of Rome, erected the Lateran Palaces, created the Vatican library and many other monuments.

In Monteprandone, Saint James of the Marches was born (1393 -1476), who was a great orator and friend of San Bernardino of Siena, an advisor to popes and kings, and an untiring proponent of peace and alliances. Finally, there was Pope Nicholas IV (1225/30 -1292) from Ascoli who honored the Franciscan convents of the Piceno with very precious gifts including the relic of the Holy Cross or “reliquia della Santa Croce” that is conserved in the splendid reliquary of Castignano. All of these very important personalities are reflected in the artistic heritage of the Piceno.

Centuries of peaceful and laborious life allowed for the accumulation of art objects of rare beauty including reliquaries and chalices, vestments and furnishings, altarpieces and alter cloths, statues and medallions that can be admired today in the ten museums spread over the diocesan territory.

The nature of the exhibited works is strongly connected to the communities of origin. Being a museum network, some services are combined into one site at the Ufficio Beni Culturali della Diocesi di San Benedetto of Tr. – Ripatransone – Montalto, in via Forte, n° 16, 63039, San Benedetto del Tr. (A.P) tel. 0735.594960, fax 0735.577246. Direction: e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , cell. 347.3804444. Here there are the Library, Historical archive and Photographic archive.

The ecclesiastical heritage, guardianship of the history

The entire heritage of the ecclesiastical property finds its own devoted guardianship in the parishes of the abovementioned centers. Sacristies carved out of wood serve as a backdrop to the surrounding opulent architectures, which continue to guard these liturgical objects of rare beauty. The ardent desire to share this wealth brought about the birth of this initiative, to preserve and to arrest the deterioration of these treasures.

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