The church, although dedicated to Santa Felicita martyr in September 1, 1591, is now known as the Church of Madonna della Vittoria. Built in the second half of the sixteenth century at the same time to the convent, he has suffered the same ups and downs.
Info: Convent of the Capuchin Friars. Franciscan reception house “Raggio di Sole. Via San Francesco, 2 – Montefiascone (VT)
Tel. 0761 826098 – 0761 820340 – P. Gianfranco Palmisani, cell. 335.354799; Mrs. Edy Bartolo cell. 347.5900953.
THE CHURCH OF MADONNA DELLA VITTORIA
HISTORY AND DESCRIPTION
The church, although dedicated to Santa Felicita martyr on 1 September 1591, is now known as the church of the Madonna della Vittoria. Built at the same time as the convent, it has undergone the same ups and downs. The convent complex is located just outside the city, on the Via Verentana, in a vast panoramic position, second only to the local Rocca dei Papi. The building includes a church and convent in a single architectural structure, as is characteristic of Capuchin convents. Initially the friars lived in the city, in a small house donated by Signora Armellina on May 5, 1568. On February 4, 1580 the Chapter of the Cathedral blessed “to the praise and veneration of Almighty God and of Mary His Virgin Mother”, the new structure built for the Capuchins from the Community of Montefiascone in the locality of Tartarola. The Mass was said in an existing chapel there. The church was consecrated by the diocesan bishop Mons. Bentivoglio on 1 September 1591 in honor of Santa Felicita martyr. But since the Capuchin preacher Carlo da Motrone (+1763) spread the devotion to the Madonna della Vittoria in the area, the painting by Gaetano Lapis (+1773), which represents her, was placed on the main altar, it was called the “church of the Madonna della Vittoria ”, whose popular festival is celebrated annually. This convent was also the seat, in its long history, for many years, up to 1976, of the “Sant’Antonio” Seraphic Seminary for young people aspiring to the Capuchin life. In 1981 it housed the scientific high school and other state high schools for a few years. In the plague of 1657-58, four Capuchins died in assisting the plague victims in the town and in the surrounding lake area. Again volunteers were at the forefront of assisting those affected by the epidemic in 1761: on that occasion, Br. Felice da Montefiascone (Zampetta Giuseppe) wrote a small booklet of sanitation rules as instructions for assisting the sick, since there was no longer anyone to assist them. In 1884 the mayor Mauri, on behalf of the Giunta, asked the Capuchins to be ready to assist the sick in anticipation of a possible epidemic, because it was not possible to find who could do it. In 1916-17, the Lazaretto was established in the convent and 16 meningitis patients were hospitalized. In 1873, following the law that suppressed religious institutes and collected their goods, the Capuchins were forced to leave the convent and take refuge in some benevolent family of the city, others took refuge in the hamlet of Zepponami and built the church of the Madonna del Giglio. and, around it, a small convent (1873). In 1892 they managed to buy back their convent and return to live there. The last war saw the convent full of people, Germans and Americans. The deep cellar of the convent was a safe and hospitable refuge for many families during the bombings. On May 26, 1944, at 7.10 am, some bombs fell in the convent’s garden, but without causing harm to people. The convent had become not only a refuge, but also a place for the collection of food and clothing that could be found in those circumstances. Over the centuries, 31 citizens of Montefiascone have become Capuchins. One of these, Br. Felice (Mengarani Giannantonio) is a “servant of God”, who died with a reputation for holiness in 1828. Many still remember the “tooth picker” between Lorenzo (+1935) and, in particular, Fr. Bernardo Fioretti (+1980), professor of classical literature in state schools, who died in 1980. In the Zepponami district, the memory of the last two Montefiasconese Capuchins Enrico Ranaldi (+1998), missionary in Madagascar, and Felice (Faustino) Cosimi (2008) are very vivid ), chaplain of ATAC and STEFER workers in Rome.
The façade of the church is marked by a simple gabled central body, on which two symmetrical sloping lateral bodies rest. To decorate the central body, a noble coat of arms in peperino is placed above the simple access portal in its triptych form. In the upper part there is a large square window and, above, a small oculus. In the forecourt, peperino pylons with modern iron cross bars delimit the access to the church portal. On the left side of the facade of the church rests a square roof supported by an arch on each side, a structure that gives shelter to access to the adjacent convent area. Above the roof, on the left slope, close to the roof of the convent structure, rests the simple bell gable which houses the bell built by Francesco Belli in 1777.
Crossing the wooden compass, you enter the church with a single nave, with three chapels on the right wall communicating with each other. The first is dedicated to the Virgin of Sorrows; the second to St. Anthony of Padua, whose protection the aspirants to the Capuchin life were entrusted, housed in the adjacent Seraphic Seminary; the third to St. Francis of Assisi. Under the altar of this was the urn with the relics of the martyr Vincent, now carried in the small choir of the “fratini”, which is accessed from the door that opens to the left of the chapel. The ancient counter with doors and drawers is preserved in the sacristy, where the sacred furnishings and liturgical vestments are kept. The presbytery is bordered by a large round arch. The altarpiece depicts the Madonna della Vittoria with Saints Felicita, Antonio di Padova and Flaviano, a painting attributed to Gaetano Lapis (+1773). Under the two small side windows, there are two doors that lead to the choir, reserved for the prayers of the religious. On the dividing wall from the presbytery you can admire the “Deposition of Christ from the cross” or “La Pietà”, a work attributed to the Belgian painter Francesco da Castello (Frans van Kasteele, +1621). Returning to the nave, on the left wall, near the presbytery, we see a large canvas depicting the first Capuchin saint, Felice da Cantalice (+1587), who obtains from his Mother to receive the Child Jesus in his arms. Near the compass Santa Margherita and the dragon, painting attributed to Giovan Francesco Romanelli (+1662). On the vault of the nave you can see a painting from the second half of the 1600s, with the Virgin and Child, venerated by Saints Felicita, Flaviano and Francis of Assisi. Above the compass you can read the tombstone of the dedication of the church.
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