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Santuario Madonna del Pilastrello, Lendinara, Rovigo, Veneto, Italy

The Sanctuary of the Madonna del Pilastrello, the most famous monument in Lendinara and a pilgrimage site on the route of the Virgin Mary's worship, was built in the 16th century after repeated, truly extraordinary events, then enlarged in the 19th and 20th century.

Visiting Details

Santuario Madonna del Piastrello - Veneto Address: Monaci Benedettini Olivetani, Via Santuario 35, Lendinara (RO), Telephone (+39) 0425 641023
Website of the Abbey: http://www.benedettinilendinara.it/

HISTORY

In the night between 8th and 9th May 1509 the house of a citizen, Giovanni Borezzo was destroyed during a storm, and only a small, 33-cm tall statue of the Virgin with Child in dark olive wood, which was before the storm inside a niche in the house, was found by a traveller from Cavazzana, one Matteo Brandolese, saved over a nearby bush, radiating a strange light.

The strange episode and especially the light attracted a great number of people, and on the spot a small column (the Pilastrello) was built, on which the statue was placed, at the expense of local lawyer Lorenzo Malmignati. Many decades later in 1576 Ludovico Borezzo, a descendant of the statue's owner Giovanni, started works to renovate the much damaged small pillar, taking from a nearby fountain spring water for the masonry work, but astonished saw the clear water become red with blood, and exhibiting strange healing powers.

The site became a popular destination for sick people, and the sanctuary was built between 1577 and 1583 and the spring was deviated into it. In 1578 the first Benedictine monks arrived, to take care of the Sanctuary, but had to abandon the site on 29 October 1771 when the Republic of Venice suppressed the monastery. Only after World War One they were entrusted again the care of the abbey and Sanctuary by Pope Benedict XV. They belong to the Congregation of Santa Maria di Monte Oliveto.

DESCRIPTION

A bell tower, 50 mt tall, was added in 1741. In the 19th century architect Don Giacomo Baccari added the 2 side naves, renovated the floor with white and red marble, and added also the Cappella del Bagno. The Sanctuary then became a Basilica and a monastery was attached in the 1960's. The statue, stolen in 1981, was found again a few years later. Inside the Sanctuary are beautiful works of art. Along the right nave, a painting by the Tintoretto school representing St. Bartholomew, St. Benedict and St. Conrad, to the left an amazing Ascension dated 1581 of the Veronese school, and still more paintings by Francesco Montemezzano, sicilian Tommaso Sciacca and Giuseppe Angeli. The frescos of the vaults and dome are 20th century work by Giuseppe Chiavigh. A door to the left leads into a vaulted room supported by 8 14-th century columns, and then into the Cappella del Bagno, whose vault is supported by 14 marble columns, and in the centre a wide basin in Carrara marble (1909) with four angels pouring the miraculous waters. Great works are also preserved in the sacristy: paintings representing St. Peter by Dosso Dossi, St. Andrew the Apostle by Giuseppe Ribera also known as the Spagnoletto, St. Bernard Tolomei by the Guercino. In the so called Salone del Pellegrino (=Pilgrim's Salon) there are paintings by Angelo Trevisani of the early 17th century representing the miracles of the Virgin in this place.
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