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Sanctuary of the Holy Virgin of Elm

The sanctuary is characterized by false-arches and a baroque bell-tower (1484, restored in 1884 following a project by Pio Casoli).

Address and contacts

Strada Bassa - 42027 Montecchio Emilia
+39 0522 864110 (San Donnino parish)

Opening times

upon request

How to get there

See the indication to reach Montecchio

Historical notes

It is located in east direction, about 1 km from the town centre. Liturgically oriented, it has an eighteenth-century, tripartite, pilastered façade, with a tympanum portal and a large blind arch in which a simple rose window with modern glass opens. The cornice is surmounted by three acroteri with pyramidal element, sphere and cross.

Two other similar elements are found at the external crowning of the two minor risers. The spire bell tower, over 40 meters high, which rises on the rear side and is joined to the apse covered by an adjacent building, has an interesting baroque structure. The interior has a single nave, on whose sides are four chapels on each side which welcome eighteenth and nineteenth-century paintings and frescoes. Above them is a loggia, between which arches and the chapels themselves open circular niches with busts. In Carrara marble is the main altar, completed in 1938 by the Correggio-born sculptress Carmela Adani. It was frescoed by Anselmo Govi ​​in ​​1935. Above the presbytery is the emblem of Christ in a ray surrounded by twelve angels. The frescoes are inspired by Venetian painting. In the central panel the bas-relief of the balustrade shows "the Adoration of the Magi", work carried out in 1950 by the sculptor Armando Giuffredi from Montecchio Emilia.

In the niche positioned along the double staircase leading to the veneration of the Madonna, there is the wooden statue of the Madonna and Child, dressed in silk brocade. Tradition has it that the relic on which it rests is a piece of the sacred elm on which the Virgin appeared to a soldier who had fallen from his horse and remained unharmed. A chapel was erected around the Elm, built around 1487, which was soon a destination for pilgrimages and graces, documented by images and precious relics. Here the Fathers of the Order of the Servants of Mary founded a convent, that was set on fire in 1558 by Germans and Spaniards hired by the Duke Ottavio Farnese who had occupied Montecchio Emilia. With the return of the town, in 1559, the oratory was rebuilt with larger sizes. In 1683 the Prior of the Convent, Vincenzo Fontanelli from Reggio Emilia, with the contribution of his family, began the transformation of the oratory into a decent church, whose work was interrupted by the war between the French/ Spanish and the imperials. Left with the old wooden trussed ceiling, the convent was then used as a civil hospital and later as a barracks of the Guardia di Finanza until 1843, when the Duke Francesco IV d'Este destined a sanctuary and convent to the Redemptorist Congregation. In 1884, on the fourth centenary of the Apparition, a special committee wanted to complete the work begun by Father Fontanelli, under the direction and free commitment of the architect Pio Casoli. In the following years there were embellishment works inside the Church. In 1887 the enclosed nuns of the Order of the Servants of Mary finally took possession of the monastery, also taking care of the fate of the Sanctuary.

Liturgically oriented, it has an eighteenth-century, tripartite, pilastered façade, with a tympanum portal and a large blind arch in which a simple rose window with modern glass opens. The cornice is surmounted by three acroteri with pyramidal element, sphere and cross.
Two other similar elements are found at the external crowning of the two minor risers. The spire bell tower, over 40 meters high, which rises on the rear side and is joined to the apse covered by an adjacent building, has an interesting baroque structure. The interior has a single nave, on whose sides there are four chapels on each side which welcome eighteenth and nineteenth-century paintings and frescoes. Above them there is a loggia, between which arches and the chapels themselves open circular niches with busts. In Carrara marble is the main altar, completed in 1938 by the Corian sculptor Carmela Adani. It was frescoed by Anselmo Govi ​​in ​​1935. Above the presbytery there is the emblem of Christ in a ray surrounded by twelve angels. The frescoes are inspired by Venetian painting. In the central panel the bas-relief of the balustrade shows "the Adoration of the Magi", work carried out in 1950 by the sculptor Armando Giuffredi di Montecchio.
Liturgically oriented, it has an eighteenth-century, tripartite, pilastered façade, with a tympanum portal and a large blind arch in which a simple rose window with modern glass opens. The cornice is surmounted by three acroteri with pyramidal element, sphere and cross.Two other similar elements are found at the external crowning of the two minor risers. The spire bell tower, over 40 meters high, which rises on the rear side and is joined to the apse covered by an adjacent building, has an interesting baroque structure. The interior has a single nave, on whose sides there are four chapels on each side which welcome eighteenth and nineteenth-century paintings and frescoes. Above them there is a loggia, between which arches and the chapels themselves open circular niches with busts. In Carrara marble is the main altar, completed in 1938 by the Corian sculptor Carmela Adani. It was frescoed by Anselmo Govi ​​in ​​1935. Above the presbytery there is the emblem of Christ in a ray surrounded by twelve angels. The frescoes are inspired by Venetian painting. In the central panel the bas-relief of the balustrade shows "the Adoration of the Magi", work carried out in 1950 by the sculptor Armando Giuffredi di Montecchio.
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