Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Madonna church


This is the Madonna church, as it is today.

The Madonna church
Today in Genzano di Lucania there is still an important church that has the name of this Madonna that we call; Maria Santissima delle Grazie, as it happened, some years had passed by from the day that they found the Madonna icon near Capo Daqua fountain, when somebody dreamed that the Madonna wanted a church of her own built on a hill called ‘Montefreddo’; the story for building this church says that there was this person that dreamed that the Madonna wanted a church, now it happened that the night the dreamer dreamed this particular dream was snowing, but in the morning the snow had melted away everywhere except where the dreamer had dreamed that the Madonna wanted her church built. The dreamer told her dream to the people of Genzano, which then they understood and took notice of the strange event of the snow. Therefore it was then decided that the new church would have to be built where that large patch of snow was left. And this is the reason why the church of this Madonna was built on this high hill of Genzano called, Montefreddo.
With the building of the Madonna church many more devotees came to adore this Madonna, and they prayed to her for graces or miracles; and many graces they received in return, so this Madonna sanctuary grew and became well known all around the country for a few centuries, but then one day a fire broke out in the crowded church, because they had too many things going on at the same time and some people perished. After that it was closed for a while and when they fixed it and opened it again, it was not as popular as it had been before.
Nowadays, although this Madonna church has been damaged badly twice by earthquake and once by fire, as we have said above, it has been rebuilt and restored and it is still very popular, but not quite as much as it used to be, I suppose it is the sign of the times, because people nowadays don’t believe in religion as much as they used to do in the old times.
Anyhow, in the town of Genzano of nowadays, we still celebrate a great feast for this Madonna, the yearly festivity for this Madonna are held for three days the first week end in August. We will have to come back to tell you about these festivities later on; because now I would like to tell you what else the people of Genzano did after they found the Madonna near Capo D’aqua fountain.
Madonna chapel and fountain
Let us go back at the site where they found the Madonna and what the people of Genzano did soon after they found this Madonna; we have already mentioned above that they were going to built a chapel, and so they built the chapel; but at the same time they built a larger fountain, because when the people of Genzano were digging to find the Madonna icon, they also found another large spring of water, so they channelled this water to make a larger fountain nearby that to these days is called Capo d’aqua, because on the abundance of this spring waters.
Since then this fountain has been rebuilt and enlarged about year 1800, in order to serve the people of Genzano as the population was growing larger. The fountain has inscribed in a corner the name of a certain ‘Lepore’, perhaps he was the mayor of the town at the time when they built or rebuilt the fountain. It is a large and abundant spring fountain situated just downstream from where they had found the Madonna, and just about where the Del’monte chasm and the Greek chasm meet, but well before they merge with St. Antun or St Michael chasm downstream. The fountain was built as a simple country fountain, and it has five or six large troughs of about three metre long and one metre wide, all built of solid and simple masonry. There are reasons to believe that the people of Genzano have used a lot this fountain outside the town, because there was no reticulated water in town in those times and the Cavallina fountain in the town was not large enough to supply the entire town.
So, this fountain was used in various ways, as there are two troughs which have three and four water sprouts each, which are fed from the spring and are constantly pouring water into the troughs. The two troughs with the sprouts are reserved for the animals to drink, and for those people that want to fill some sorts of vessels straight from the sprouts. From these two troughs then the water runs out into the rest of the troughs, and these secondary troughs were used to do the town’s washing, since there was no reticulated water in town in those times.
Capo d’aqua fountain was very popular in the old times, there was even a song that a young girl used to sing happily, she would sing about the time when she would go to Capo d’Aqua fountain to do the washing. I can still remember a few of the dialect verses that I learned when I was young, and they go like this:
Italian dialect verses.
Me chiam Rosa e teng vent’ann
E a Capodaqua ije lav li pann
Kess eij la dota ca me dai mam
na strecatora e na cest pei pann.
English version
My name is Rose and I am twenty
And a Capo D’aqua I wash my clothes
This is the dowry that my mother gives me,
A scrubbing board and a basket for clothes

This is the story of this Madonna that we have told just the way we know it, next time we will have to think of something else to write our next post. See you soon.  

     Genzano it story
The Madonna church
Next time with, another story about Genzano.
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