Basilica della Ghiara

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The Basilica of the Madonna della Ghiara
Façade of the basilica

The Tempio della Beata Vergine della Ghiara (Temple of the Blessed Virgin of Ghiara), also known as Basilica della Madonna della Ghiara, is a church in Reggio Emilia, northern Italy. The building is the property of the comune (municipality) of the city.

History[edit]

The church was built in response to an alleged miracle associated with a local votive image of the Madonna, painted by Lelio Orsi, which had occurred in the year 1596. This soon became a place of pilgrimage, and the offerings of the faithful paid for a new temple into which the votive fresco was moved.

The cornerstone was laid on June 6, 1597 by the bishop Claudio Rangone, in the presence of Duke Alfonso II d'Este and Duchess Margherita Gonzaga. Part of the former convent and church were demolished in order to make way for the new structure. The plan was by the local architect and sculptor Francesco Pacchioni, who also designed the dome and the interior stuccoes. The church was consecrated on May 12, 1619.

Interior of the dome

Overview[edit]

The plan of the church is on the Greek cross, with, at the centre, a dome surmounted by a lantern. Four smaller domes, not visible from outside, are at the inner angle of the cross.

The façade has Doric columns on the lower part and Ionic columns on the upper one. It is built of laterite, with white Veronese marble insets. The central portal has a marble bas-relief portraying the Vergine della Ghiara, (1642). The side portals were executed in 1631.

The interior is in Late Renaissance style, with rich decorations in gold, marbles, as well as large frescoes of the Carracci school covering the domes and the vaults. These depicts stories of women of the Old Testament. The ceiling painted by Alessandro Tiarini is considered his masterwork. The dome frescoes are by Lionello Spada (1616). Other works in the church are by Guercino and Giovanni Battista Magnani.

Sources[edit]

  • Piccinini, Guglielmo (1921). Guida di Reggio Emilia.