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In Evidence

The Church of Santa Maria

The origins of the Santuario di Santa Maria del Castello have been lost between fact  and  fiction in time. Traditionally the story goes  as thus… In  1090 the Count of Ruggero,  who was brother to Roberto Guiscardo, wished t to curb an attempted rebellion, led by Guglielmo Arenga, so he decided to erect a castle on the peak of hill of the historical city. The walls which were built mysteriously disappeared at night so Ruggero decided to excavate the earth deeper around the castle.  During the building works a section of the wall was found with a fresco of the image of the Virgin with Child, which still bears  the signs of a pickaxe.  A shout went up declaring it was a miracle and Ruggero was forced to build this church to keep the population happy. Thus being  named ”Madonna del Castello”. This story is related on a plaque dating from the 17th Century placed above the alter, where the sacred  image is found.
The legend also inspired a fresco in the crypt, which depicts the enthroned Virgin and Child with the Conte Ruggero on bended knee beside them. It is found between two Norman Gothic  arches.
There is  great mystery which surrounds the Castello, however it was first mentioned in a notary contract in the year  1287.
The crypt dates from the Norman period, the gallery above is supported by massive, square cut stone  buttresses.  The loggia opens onto the main entrance and is decorated by an Romanesque  arch which was once the opposite side of  the church. The works, concluded in 1769 by the  Father Vito Chiaromonte, changed the orientation of the building.  The facade of actual entrance of the Sanctury opens onto a beautiful  pointed stone arch,  clearly in the Gothic style influenced by the influx of Cistercian art spread throughout  Val di Crati between the XII and XIV Century.   Above the arch there is a marble tile from the XIV Century, depicting  the Virgin and Child, in the centre above is the Holy Father.  This work is attributed to Tino di Camaino, a sculptor from Siena.
The works beautifying the church in the XIV Century, display the fragments of  frescos  on the walls. It  shows  Christ the Redeemer blessing with his right hand and with his left hand resting on a book with a inscription Ego sum Lux mundi, (“I am the light of the world”). On the wall, beside the small staircase which leads to the choir,  there is also an apostle saint who is clearly visible.
The belfry, whose heavy lower part is Romanesque, rises from the ancient tower of the castle, fallen probably after the terrible earthquake of 1693.  After which the church was reduced to a Latin Cross and decorated in the Baroque style, that we see today, replacing the wooden ceiling  with a vaulted ceiling with impressive great pillars, chapels and fine stucco.
Inside the central nave,  in the vast square apse, there is the splendid, late renaissance wooden choir,  which came from the workshop of Giovan Pietro Cerchiaro from Morano Calabro and other  works of art of great worth from the XVII and XVIII.  The side naves end in two large chapels decorated with 18th Century balustrades from a  Neapolitan workshop. You can see splendid, carved, polychrome marble. There are also important artworks such as two oil paintings on wood by Pietro Negroni and some canvases of  Genesio Galtieri from Mormano, who worked in the second half of the 1700’s.
Also of great historical and artistic importance is the venerated fresco dated about XIII Century,  showing the Holy Virgin of the Castle with Child.

09 November 2015 17:57:11

  Elenco Notizie

Regione CalabriaRegione Calabria



Operation financed by the Calabria Region as part of the POR Calabria FESR 2007/2013
PISL - Integrated Local Development Projects - Line of Action
Realized by Rubrik Srl

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