The ancient sanctuary of the Madonna of the Miracles is located within walking distance of the Basilica of Saint Flaviano. The first information of the church dates back to 1333, the year in which the community of Montefiascone started building a hospital that was connected to it. In 1465 the church belonged to the Servite order and in 1492, the old and tattered church was rebuilt with the help of the community.
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CHURCH OF THE MADONNA OF THE MIRACLES
The ancient sanctuary of the Madonna of the Miracles is located within walking distance of the Basilica of Saint Flaviano. The first information of the church dates back to 1333, the year in which the community of Montefiascone started building a hospital that was connected to it. In 1465 the church belonged to the Servite order and in 1492, the old and tattered church was rebuilt with the help of the community. The construction of the new sanctuary collaborated with the same craftsmen involved in the building of Saint Margret. The building was constructed typical of the Renaissance, a Latin cross with the cross vault covered by a dome. The job was completed in 1530, but in 1536, 1544, and again in 1568 there were necessary repairs to the outer hemispherical dome. It was demolished in 1579 and replaced with a roof covering. In 1695, the church was shortened and the façade being unsafe was knocked down and rebuilt in a more backward, incorporating remains of the ancient part. Baroque decorations were added that help to characterize the interior of the building. From this period, there are also two coats of arms from the District and the Servants of Mary, inserted in the pilasters of the side façade. The frescos visible on the walls of the hall are from the first decades of the 16th century contemporaneous to the architecture of the church. The building as it is today is because of the restoration work affected the complex in 1906. On this occasion, the 14th century fresco of the Madonna of the Miracles was adorned with a gold-jeweled crown. The monument dedicated to the Virgin Mary was built in the year 1954.
The simple façade, enclosed by two wings of the building, has a central door surrounded by a projecting triangular pediment. Seven seraphim are carved into a relief on the architrave and a decoration of a candelabra between a series of mirrors adorns the side pilasters. Similar but more simplified is the decoration and the structure of the window of the second order. Higher up, within triangular shapes appear two Angles with trumpets. The walls within the interior are in the shape of a Latin cross with pilaster strips in the corners and a frame of dark stone. At the crossing of the transept stands the dome set on plumes. On the right wall, inside a niche, there is a painting of Madonna enthroned with Child between Saint Anthony from Padova, Saint Luke, Saint Monaco and Saint Lawrence. In the cap, there is The Father blessing, flanked by two angels with trumpets. The 16th century fresco proposes again with its inadequate model from a popular Viterbo school in the previous century. The altar on the right hand-side of the transept, with the statue of the Madonna, dates back to the end of the 17th century. It has a stone painted as imitation marble and a convex profile, with side wings projecting and a broken tympanum. To the right and left, two oval canvases from the beginning of the 18th century depict Saint Pellegrino, patron of the Servites and Saint Philip, General of the Servites. The high baroque altar that was extensively restore in 1906, was built between the end of the 17th century and into the beginning of the next. On this occasion, the fresco of the Virgin of the Graces was removed from the primitive chapel and inserted into the altar. The columns and mirrors are made of faux marble, with decorations in swirls and embroidery, an oval in relief barring the coat of arms of Mary and the angels. There is a tabernacle in stone with angels and a grotesque image that incorporates a century view of the Virgin. On the sides are the coat of arms for the Servites and the Municipality. The altar on the left side of the transept and a statue of Christ is from the 17th century and is almost identical to the one of the opposite side of the transept. Continue on the left side of the wall of the church, there is a small fresco from the end of the 15th century or the beginning of the next, depicting Saint Sebastian and Saint Rocco. It was made by an anonymous artist heavily influenced by the style of the Pastura. In a niche, paintings of Saint Nicola of Bari, Saint Matthew, Saint Bernardino of Siena and at the top the Holy Spirit and the angels. The fresco from the 16th century, proposes again motifs typical of Viterbo in the 15th century. The fragmentary remains of frescoes that flank the two painted niches, discovered during the 1906 restoration, seem to be referable to a decoration more carried out in the end of the 15th century when the church was rebuilt, then at the beginning of the next. Finally on the rear wall near the entrance, there is a 16th century fresco depicting Mary enthroned with Child between Saint Francis and Saint Anthony of Padua. The painting is mutilated in the left part because of the reduction work done to the nave of the church carried out by the Fathers Servites in 1695.
Church of the Madonna of the Miracles.
Translation by Allie Venturacci, University of Nevada Reno, enrolled in the USAC Viterbo program.
R. Van Marle, The developmet of the italian schools of paintings, XV, 1934.
G. Breccola – M. Mari, Montefiascone, Grotte di Castro 1979.
G. Breccola, Montefiascone. Guida alla scoperta, Montefiascone 2006.