Shrine of Our Lady at Torreglia

Torreglia

Shrine of Our Lady at Torreglia

The Shrine of Our Lady at Torreglia, we can admire today in the namesake square, bears its own tiny and engaging story. During a pastoral visit to Torreglia, at the end of the seventeenth century, the bishop of Padua Gregorio Barbarigo was so impressed by the acumen of a native of the place, named Giacomo Fasolato (Torreglia, 1682 – Padua, 1769), to take the young man with him to study in Padua. The Bishop was right: this youngster, revealing a great aptitude for literature, latinized his name to Jacopo Facciolati and became a famous Latin scholar. Appointed to the teaching of logic at the University of Padua, he gave an enormous boost to Latin philology. Once become very famous throughout Europe, he republished, improved and expanded the “Lexicon Septem Linguarum” by the monk Ambrogio Calepio, in collaboration with Egidio Forcellini: this lexicon, also called “calepino”, is still considered the first modern Latin vocabulary. Indeed, Jacopo was always attached to his hometown, taking charge of the improvements of the parish church of Saint Sabino that was enlarged and embellished at his own expense, while to the parishioners of the plain he donated the beautiful statue of the Madonna, probably by Francesco Rizzi, a pupil of the Bonazza. The statue was positioned in the square that still is called “Capitello”. Wishing to give worthy and proper placement to the statue and better preserve it from the elements, in 1811 the torregliani (inhabitants of Torreglia) entrusted to Father Benedetto Fiandrini, very skilful architect and librarian at the abbey of Praglia, the construction of an aedicule, a sort of niche to contain the Madonna. The shrine and the Madonnina were moved several times, first in 1911 to make way for the tram, afterwards for the need to expand the square. Following the works for the widening of Via Mirabello, In July 1956, the municipality determined the demolition of the shrine and positioning of the statue on a concrete obelisk at the beginning of the traffic island. The Superintendence of Cultural Heritage of Venice opposed and gave rise to a court litigation. The dispute ended requiring the town of Torreglia, which fortunately had retained almost all the fragments, to rebuild the shrine. On May 13, 1972, the Madonna returned to her lovely tabernacle in the center of the square, where it still stands, a few tens of meters from the birthplace of Facciolati. The original house no longer exists but two plaques still commemorate the great Latinist.

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Piazza Capitello, Torreglia

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