The legend tells us that its name should be called the marshy area (called “moja”) near the river Esino in which it stood. It is the Romanesque Abbey of Santa Maria delle Moie – in the hamlet of the Municipality of Maiolati Spontini, in the province of Ancona and in the middle valley of the River Esino – founded at the beginning of the 11th century by the family Attoni-Alberoni-Gozoni as a private monastery .
The church is made up of squared stones of yellowish sandstone and inside it is supported by four pillars and articulated into three aisles divided into three camps. At the east all the aisles end with a semicircular apse: on this side the apses, which differ in height and depth, highlight the basilical form of the church. Two are instead the apsides protruding outwards on the north side, decorated, like the cornice, with white travertine beams, partly supported by pairs of semicilindrical pilasters crowned with small capitals without decoration.
Before entering in the church there is an atrium of square plant, flanked by two rooms of the same plant, the left of which welcomes a spiral staircase. The portal has a staggered columned stucco and is decorated with interlaced leaves and flowers. The most interesting elements of the church of Santa Maria are the apses and above all the plant which, based on the four isolated columns inside, remembers not so much Byzantine models as the early Christian triconch buildings and square churches with Greek cross written in early Middle Ages.
The characteristics of Santa Maria delle Moie’s altitude, with a slightly lower acute acute pocket, and the double tower facade have important precedents in the Marches: the main reference point for the typology is the abbey church of Santa Maria di Portonovo in Ancona. The church is dedicated to the nativity of Maria and a painting with this subject ornamented the altar. Of the monastery, however, there are only two environments: one rectangular with barrel vault connected to an underground room by a staircase; the other, communicating with the first and also accessible from the courtyard.
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