Santuario della Consolata

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Outside view from the West, with domes, portico, column, and belltower.

The Santuario della Consolata or Sanctuary of the Virgin of the Consolation is a prominent Marian sanctuary and minor basilica in central Turin, Piedmont, Italy. Colloquially, the sanctuary is known as La Consla. It is located on the intersection of Via Consolata and Via Carlo Ignazio Giulio.

Altar with icon of the Virgin of the Consolation.

History[edit]

The Benedictines were the first monastic order to settle in this location. A church at the site, probably dedicated to Our Lady, stood adjacent to the ancient Roman walls of the city. It is held that in the fifth century, Bishop Maximus erected a church dedicated to St Andrew Apostle with a small chapel to the Virgin with an icon. The icon, however, became the object of great veneration. Legend maintains that a blind pilgrim in the 12th century had his vision restored by the icon of the Virgin in the church. Inside the church, ex votos document centuries of miracles attributed to the Virgin.[1] In 929 the Marquis Adalberto ordered the construction of a monastery and endowed it with some territories. The Romanesque bell tower dates to about this time, and was built next to the foundation of one of the corner turrets of the old Roman fort which later became Turin.

Architecture[edit]

The church was originally built in the style of a basilica. Over the years the church and the icon were rebuilt and restored by various orders of monks. In 1448 the prior of Sant'Andrea expanded the church building one bay to the west. With the increased popularity of devotion to Our Lady of Consolation, the church changed from a parish to a shrine.[2]

The first major reconstruction leading to the present church was commissioned in 1678 by Marie Jeanne Baptiste of Savoy-Nemours.[3] Architect Guarino Guarini and engineer Antonio Bertola created the elliptical shape of the church nave, and added a new hexagonal chapel on the north side to accommodate the venerated icon of Mary.[2]

East-west axis of main altar

The architect Filippo Juvarra in 1729-1740 added the North presbytery, thus creating a church with two apparent axis: a main altar on the east, while retaining the famed icon as a chapel to the north. This period also saw the decoration of the dome by Giovanni Battista Crosato.[4]

1852 engraving of La Consolata

The neoclassical facade, portico, and burial crypt on the south-north axis date from 1845-1860 with contributions by Pietro Anselmetti; further additions were made in 1899-1904 under the guidance of Carlo Ceppi.

The interior has a jubilantly polychrome rococo decoration with colored marbles and solomonic columns. The Juvarra altar has two marble angels in adoration by Carlo Antonio Tantardini. The interior has a sculpture of two praying queens by Vincenzo Vela. Outside the church is a statue of a virgin and child on a column.

The church serves as a burial place for a number of saints affiliated with Turin: Giuseppe Cafasso, Giovanni Bosco, and Leonardo Murialdo, as well as the Blessed Giuseppe Allamano, rector (1880-1926) and founder of the Mission Institute of the Consolata. Every June 20, a procession of the icon of the Virgin takes place in the streets of the city.[5][6]

The church is an eclectic collection of architecture, and includes portions of an ancient Roman wall, a Romanesque bell-tower, a baroque set of domes, almost Byzantine, sheltering a gothic icon, with two porticos, one of which has Neoclassic severity. The clashing of Guarini's and Juvarra's often mathematical architecture with the highly decorated interior, stubbornly magnetic to a ritualistic popular piousness, leads to a modern synthesis with immanent overtones.

The shrine was bombed by the RAF on Aug. 13, 1943.[2]

References[edit]

Coordinates: 45°04′36″N 7°40′45″E / 45.07667°N 7.67917°E / 45.07667; 7.67917