Cascia

Sanctuary of Santa Rita

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Tourist information and welcome office
Piazza Garibaldi 1 - 06043 Cascia
info@iat.cascia.pg.it

Sanctuary of Santa Rita
Context: urban
Dating: XX CENTURY

The sanctuary of Santa Rita is situated in the highest part of the city of Cascia. It's inserted in the urban context breaking every dimensional and stylistic form.


It is reached through an external road that encircles the city, or internally, where the steep climbs are attenuated by escalator systems.

The Basilica, dedicated to the Saint, is a modern building of the twentieth century, built in nine years, important from point of view both artistic than architecture.  Inside the church, in the chapel of Santa Rita, the crystal urn of 1930 contains the body of the saint. The marble stand was decorated by Eros Pellini. Above the altar some candlesticks and a silver cross embossed seventeenth century create a mystical atmosphere. On the left, through a very narrow door, you can enter the Church of the Blessed Rita where the body of the saint was venerated from 1577 to 1947. The church was largely demolished to make space for the new sanctuary space. Only the portal and some altars remains. 

The sanctuary was built in 1937-47 on the site of the augustinian church, attached to the monastery where St. Rita died in 1457. The project was by the Vatican engineer Monsignor Spirito Maria Chiapetta; the building was modified during the construction by Giuseppe Martinenghi.
To the sides of the portal there are ten embossed panels with Stories of St. Clare's life by Eros Pellini . On the lintel the inscription comes from the ancient sarcophagus of the saint "Salve Rita vas amoris, sponsa Christi painful / tu de spinis Salvatoris nasceris pulchra ut rosa". Hi Rita vessel of the bride of Christ painful love / you from the thorns of the Saviour are born beautiful as a rose.
Inside the Byzantine structure with Greek cross with apsidal arms. All around the perimeter of the structure open loggias of the women's gallery.
The main apse was renovated in 1981 by architects Caproni, Genco, Srimieri. The high altar, designed by Giuseppe Martinenghi, is decorated with reliefs with the Last Supper of Eros Pellini and guards the "Corpus Christi", the cult was recognized by Boniface IX. The furnishings are the work of the great contemporary sculptor Giacomo Manzu. Remarkable the oval tabernacle with a rose in the middle ears of corn and vines and crucified with the crossshaped olive trees.
The frescoes , Ultima Cena, are the works of Luigi Filocamo, the stained glass with Eucharistic Miracles by Armando Marrocco. The central area of the sanctuary is covered by a dome where the painter Luigi Montanarini has depicted the dove and the glory of the Augustinian saints.
The entrance apse was frescoed by Silvio Consadori in 1956; the characters in the procession who come to adore the cross, left the artist's self-portrait covered with a green cloak and a red book in hand. On the sides are the holy altars Lucia and Saint Joseph.
The Assunzione apse was painted by Gisberto Ceracchini with L'Assunzione con di Maria al cielo,, in 1950, just after the proclamation of the dogma by Pope Pius XII. The design of the windows, Storie della vita di Maria, is by Consadori. In the apse of St. Rita there is a small painting of Madonna del Buon Consiglio of the XVIII century and the parchment in which Pope Pius XII elevated the church to shrine on August 1 1955. The paintings are by Ferruccio Ferrazzi. The chapel of Santa Rita, which houses his body, opens behind a large wrought iron gate. Under the altar of the chapel of Consolation it is instead preserved body of Blessed Augustinian Simone
Trust (1295-1348), the great writer and preacher who brought in Cascia the "Corpus Christi" is now housed in the main altar. The miracle happened in 1330 in Siena: a  priest, as he went to take communion to a sick man, put the host in the breviary. Came to the house of the sick he saw that the host had become blood, the blood stains were in the shape of a human face profile. 

In the night between 21 and May 22 of every year Cascia dedicates to St. Rita a great feast, the Celebrations of St Rita, where purely celebratory moments alternate spaces for reflection and liturgy. 

Information and tips
At the entrance of Cascia there is a large parking lot that thanks to lifts and mobile stairs college with the historic center and St. Rita Sanctuary. Nearby is worth visiting the center of Roccaporena, birthplace of the saint, where you can still admire the house, now converted into a chapel, where the saint lived, the rock of prayer, in which he meditated, the rose garden and the vegetable garden of the miracle where in a cold winter of 1457 a few days before his death, a rose blossomed and matured a fig.