Casacalenda, Province of Campobasso, Molise
Provinces of Molise
Other Italian Regions
- Territory: hills
- Population: about 2500 inhabitants
- Zip/postal code: 86043
- Phone Area Code: 0874
- Frazioni & Localities: Civitella, Convento Sant'Onofrio, Gerione, San Vito, Lamacchione, Coste del Lago, Gerione, Fonte San Paolo, Piano San Giovanni, Montelecanne, Cerro Secco, Il Monte, Olivoli, Faidazzo.
A tragic episode took place in February 1799 when Albanese mercenaries, sent by Duke Scipione Di Sangro who resented the liberal government of local Mastrogiurato Don Domenico De Gennaro, attacked Casacalenda. Don Domenico, hoping to save his town, went to meet the attackers who slew him treacherously on the Campomarino beach. In the years 1940-1943 Casacalenda hosted a concentration camp for Jewish and politically dissident women.
What to see
- Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, very ancient, as proven by a stone cross of the 9th century AD in the Byzantine style, on a lateral lunette in the facade.
- Monastery of Sant'Onofrio founded in 1407 by Padre Giovanni from Scontrone and completed by Blessed Tommaso from Firenze, with a beautiful cloister and relics of frescos under the arches; the annexed church is rich in art works: 17th-century paintings of the Venetian school, behind the altar a magnificent representation of the Nativity by painter Santafede, in the choir another precious painting by Paolo Gamba from Ripabottoni, in the lateral altar of St. Joseph the altar-piece in marble representing Dead Christ by Sammartino and a 15th century painting representing St. Joseph by Antonio Solario, alias Lo Zingaro.
- The Sanctuary of Maria Santissima della Difesa, built in 1898 on the place where rose a giant oak called "quercia della Madonna", which was believed to be a holy place where miracles had occurred. On the fourth Sunday of September (since then a religious festivity) a statue of the Virgin Mary by Florentine artist Amalia Dupré was brought here. In the Sanctuary there is a rich treasures of all the gifts left by those who had their prayers fulfilled, and in Montreal (Canada) in the district of Mile-End, the emigrants from Casacalenda founded in 1921 their own Chiesa della Madonna della Difesa.
- Gerione, a nearby center as ancient as Casacalenda, mostly abandoned after the 1456 earthquake, an object today of archeological studies.