I was fascinated by the difference between Gherardo Cibo’s illustrations, in Ridolfi’s manuscript, of the churches of Corinaldo (where we have our holiday home), and how they appear today. Here are the churches I know best.
Once upon a time San Pietro was Corinaldo’s principal church; now only its bell tower remains.
San Francesco, now Corinaldo’s parish church, formerly attached to a friary of Franciscan Friars Minor. It has been considerably altered since 1596.
This was originally the church of San Niccolò. When it was taken over by the Augustinians, it became known as Sant’Agostino, and is now the Diocesan Sanctuary of Santa Maria Goretti, Corinaldo’s own local saint, who died in 1902 as the result of an attempted rape by a neighbour’s son. Today’s church (below) is not the church Ridolfi knew; that church was mediaeval. The church we see today was built in 1740-56.
The former San Niccolò today.
This is the church of Santa Anna, the patron saint of Corinaldo. It’s my favourite of the town churches. It contains a tender late 15th-century wall-painting of Saint Anne, which perhaps Ridolfi knew, with her daughter Mary sitting on her knee, and baby Jesus sitting on Mary’s knee in his turn. The church exudes a sense of love, especially on St Anne’s feast day when it is full of people praying and lighting candles, perhaps in memory of their mothers and grandmothers.
Today’s church is in the same place but was built in the eighteenth century.
This is the church of Santa Maria “de Ulmis magnis”, “of the big elms”, and you can see an elm in the picture. It is first mentioned in 1090, when it was known as Santa Maria delle terre. The area is still known as Olmigrandi, but the church’s dedication changed to Sant’Apollonia in the eighteenth century, and two centuries later it was demolished and rebuilt a short way down the hill, in 1914. It’s of special interest to me because it’s our local church and we often go to Mass there.
Next time I’ll tell you about the early printed books in the Biblioteca Antonelliana.