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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
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
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.
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.