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«So in the form of a white rose that was shown the holy militia (…) in the great flower came down that is adorned with so many leaves, and then went back where his love always updates». (Dante Alighieri, Divine Comedy, Paradise, Canto XXXI, vv. 1- 2 e 10-12)

The rosewindows, real embroideries of stone placed on the facades of the churches, through their decorations filter the divine light, becoming colored beams that illuminate the aisles. The rose window is a spoke wheel that symbolizes, according to Christian tradition, the dominion of Christ on earth. It is present on the axis of the main nave, sometimes also of the secondary ones or in correspondence of chapels or cross arms. The circular shape and the chromatic range allowed the glass masters to create works of sacred art depicting, in the form of an icon, the most significant passages of the Gospel. The rose window represents the wheel of Fortune: Dante himself defines it as an angelic Intelligence that is based in Empiricism and operates among men through a divine plan. The rosette «clearly explains the cyclical nature of human fortune and confines human time to the immeasurable nature of God’s time».[1]

 

Basilica of San Benedetto

 

Its name, used since the Seventeenth century, is an accretive of the Latin term rosa, which suggests its similarity to the structure of the flower. The rose, whose freshness and beauty suggests an ethereal symbol, also recalls the chalice of Christ.[2]
In the Divine Comedy, in the XXXI canto of Paradise, Dante evokes the celestial rose that gathers in paradise the circle of the blessed admitted to contemplate God. The rose window is closely related to the circle, a symbol of perfection and therefore of God, but at the same time it is also the symbol of the labyrinth, which is created by the many plant motifs present within. The labyrinth recalls the inner search and the initiatory journey. It thus represents a link between the human and the divine worlds.

Church of San Francesco in Norcia

A tour in Valnerina

Umbria, a land of deep mysticism and spirituality, conceals in its territory the footsteps of the saints who changed the face of Christianity. It was in the green hills and highlands of Norcia that found the faith San Benedetto.
In the historic center of the city, stands the Basilica of San Benedetto, built at the birthplace of the saint and then enlarged in the Thirteenth century.
The facade, with a gabled profile, has at the bottom a splayed portal and is enriched at the top by a rose window, decorated with acanthus leaves and accompanied by the symbols of the four evangelists. Unfortunately the church was deeply damaged during the earthquake of 2016, but you can easily guess its ancient splendor.
Of great artistic and architectural interest is the church of San Francesco in Norcia, built entirely in white stone and completed by the Conventual Franciscans.
Valuable is the large rose window that dominates the façade: a frame made with rosettes and round arches, like a real embroidery, pierces the hard stone, revealing its deep meaning through the void of matter but full instead of the divine light.
A few kilometres from the homeland of San Benedetto, in Preci, stands the Hermitage of Sant’ Eutizio. The oldest part of the abbey dates back to the Ninth century and it was completed at the behest of Abbot Tendini I in 1190. The abbey bewitches the viewer as it is entirely built on a terrace between the cliff and the valley below. The rose window, a true jewel of sculpture, prevails over the structure of the church. It is a large circle surrounded by the symbols of the evangelists, typical of Romanesque architecture, but also bears fragments of early medieval sculpture.[3]

Hermitage of Sant’Eutizio

Not far from Norcia another magnificent rose window dominates the facade of the church of Santa Maria Assunta in Vallo di Nera. The church dates back to 1176 and has a façade with stone conce typically Romanesque. It is distinguished by a Gothic portal with an ogive decorated with capitals and friezes and in the upper part a rose window punctuated by twelve columns perfectly in line, which seems to be reabsorbed in the wall.
City deeply linked to spirituality, but also to the symbol of the rose window and therefore to the rose itself: Cascia is a religious center linked to the figure of Saint Rita. In this village stands the church of San Francesco, where the Blessed Franciscan Peace was buried in 1270. A prominent element of the façade, made by Comacini masters, is the refined rose window, very particular because it is given by ingranaggio of the two opposing wheels that create a dynamic effect of rotation. It is composed of eighteen columns with capitals and eighteen trilobed arches, which converge towards the center where there is a Madonna with Child. All around acanthus leaves recall classic motifs. The delicacy of the inlay making this rose window is a true masterpiece of the regional sculptural art. The Umbrian Apennines are the silent guardian of the traces of saints and pilgrims, founders of hermitages inspired by the rules of poverty, solitude and simplicity.
A legend says that Saint Mauro, his son Felice and their nurse passed through Sant’Anatolia di Narco. The population asked Mauro for help to be freed from a dragon that infested those places. Saint Mauro, thanks to divine help, faced and killed the dragon. The episode of the liberation is depicted in the frieze of the façade. In it there is also the rose window, among the most interesting examples of Umbrian Romanesque sculpture, with two rows of columns, inscribed in a square with the apocalyptic symbols.

 

Church of San Francesco

The symbology of the facade is exemplary: the rose window represents Christ, who brings light to the world, identified with the Church, through the voice of the four evangelists who allowed the knowledge.[4]
Finally, one of rose window most particular is that in the church of San Salvatore in Campi di Norcia. The tragic earthquake events of 2016 led to the collapse of much of the building and the destruction of the bell tower dating back to the sixteenth century. The remaining walls have been consolidated to secure the portions of frescoes that will be reinstated in the recovered parts.

 

Church of San Salvatore in Campi di Norcia.

 

The church, nestled in the Umbrian hills, is a rare example with two naves, with two doors and two rose windows, moreover not aligned with the line of the roof. Particularly interesting is the large outer ring of the rose window, carved with acanthus branches arranged in a sinuous spiral rotation. Basilicas, abbeys and small churches, surrounded by green Umbrian typical valleys, magical and mystical places at the same time, but also essential guides that help the visitor, spectator or hermit to grasp the purest and deepest part of Umbria. These and many other places give back precious jewels of a past time. Unfortunately many of them were deeply affected by the earthquake of a few years ago, but very often art and beauty conquer the silence that descends on the rubble, bringing these places back to their ancient beauty.

 


[1] Claudio Lanzi, Sedes Sapientiae The symbolic universe of cathedrals, Simmetria edizioni, Roma, 2009, pag. 162.
[2] M. Feuillet, Lexicon of Christian symbols, Edizioni Arkeios, Roma, 2006, p. 97-98.
[3] L. Zazzerini, Umbria Eremitica. Ubi silentium sit Deus, Edizioni LuoghInteriori, Città di Castello, 2019, pp. 124-131.
[4] L. Zazzerini, Umbria Eremitica. Ubi silentium sit Deus, Edizioni LuoghInteriori, Città di Castello, 2019, p. 109.

As has already happened before, but in this case, it comes from a small strip of wounded land in the heart of the “Heart of Italy”. A sprout of future for Italy and Europe.

Montanari testoni

 

Four documentaries, four stories about Valnerina’s rebirth. A year after the earthquake that hit central Italy, four documentaries, written, produced and realized with the Restart project. Comunità Resistenti by MenteGlocale – permanent laboratory of social communication, based in Perugia – tell the stories of a land, the Umbrian Valnerina, which reacted to the earthquake’s material and moral damages.
Norcia, Campi, Cascia, Ruscio: the earthquake struck the populations touching them in the affections, in the habits and in the small and great security of everyday life. These mountaineers were injured but not defeated, and in some cases they were able to react to the difficulties by rolling up their sleeves. Written by Filippo Costantini, Giorgio Vicario and Daniele Suraci, who has also directed and edited the Restart project. Comunità Resistenti, it was created with the contribution of Corecom Umbria, through the 2017 Community TV competition.

The four docu-films

The four docu-films try to tell the stories of these territories, the stories little known or that few tell. People and places are the protagonists, who go beyond the earthquake and try to roll up their sleeves to start over and move on.

 

  • Montanari testoni

Born in November 2016 in Norcia, inside a field tent, the Montanari Testoni association was promoted by a group of young people from the territory to face together the adversities related to the earthquake. It was created to talk and discuss the personal and collective situation and to propose activities of participation, sharing, collaboration and cultural promotion dedicated to the inhabitants of Norcia. From a collection center for food and clothes, a real social center, the container has hosted in recent months – and continues to do so – condominium meetings, workshops for children, film clubs and much more, until the rehearsals of the famous Corale di Norcia, left without a seat, and has now become a fundamental reference point for the entire nursery community.

 

Sisters of Cascia

Sisters of Cascia

 

  • Rita

In Cascia, after the shock of October 30th, 2016, several buildings became unusable, but except for a few cases there were no collapses. For security reasons, for the first time in the history of Cascia the Basilica of Santa Rita was closed and the Augustinian cloistered nuns had to leave the monastery, returning after a few weeks. They tell the life in the Cloistered Monastery of the Sisters of Cascia and the relationship between the Casciani and Saint Rita: in a Cascia hit by the earthquake the icon of the Saint is a concrete presence of hope for the future.

 

  • Maddalena

Ruscio is a small fraction of the Municipality of Monteleone di Spoleto composed by two-storey houses, historical buildings, three churches, two squares, a bridge and many fountains. The village develops along a single road cut by a bridge that divides Ruscio above from Ruscio below. The fraction, where there are permanently seventy people, has not suffered much damage. The material signs of the recent earthquakes are there, but they are not very strong: the most evident damages are in people and are linked to the fear of depopulation, to the fear that at least for a few years it will no longer be the same. Every year in the summer the rusciari scattered in the world return to the small Umbrian village to spend their holidays, repopulating houses that for most of the year are carefully guarded by the few stable inhabitants of the country. On August 24th the traditional Rusciari Dinner is celebrated, an indispensable moment to say goodbye before returning to their places of residence. In 2016, due to the earthquake, the dinner was canceled.

 

  • Doctormonster

Back to Campi is the dream of Roberto Doctormonster Sbriccoli, bricklayer-dj of Campi, a fraction of the Municipality of Norcia strongly affected by the shocks of 2016. The upper part of the village is red zone, all the houses are unusable, and several are collapsed. Between the upper and lower parts of the village stands the headquarters of the Pro Loco, a structure inaugurated just four days before the earthquake of August 24th, 2016 and built by the inhabitants of Campi – ed by Doctormonster. A class four anti-seismic structure that was immediately used as an emergency reception center. In the weeks following the shock, it hosted up to ninety people, proving to be fundamental for shelter and assistance. Animator and coordinator of the space was Docmonster, who is also the president of the Pro Loco. These were difficult days, full of discouragement and nervousness, but that place was fundamental. Today many of the inhabitants of Campi live in the newly delivered containers and wooden houses.
Docmonster has a dream called Back to Field, a € 4 million project that aims to build a multi-purpose center for tourism and sport on a newly acquired site by Pro Loco. It is a project that aims to provide a complete and equipped with all the services to those who will be on vacation in the summer (before the earthquake many people choose this place for summer holidays) in these areas and has the ambition to be a multi-purpose center for pre-season retreats of the teams of different sports. Docmonster took it upon himself to realize this project.

 

 


The video: http://www.menteglocale.com/