The Monte dei Cappuccini is a hill of 283 m s.l.m. which is located in the city of Turin on the right bank of the Po River, in the Little Village, very close to the historical centre, near the piazza Vittorio Veneto. On it stands the little convent of Santa Maria al Monte, entrusted to the Capuchins, of great importance for Turin spirituality. The square in front of the convent is often used as a tourist lookout glimpse of the same city and, since 2005, is the entrance to the restored National Museum. =
The origins of the convent =
This Hill was used since ancient times for defensive purposes as above one of the crossing points. The first news of the presence of a church dating from the 13th century: Thomas I of Savoy had its own fortress, which remained the possession of the comital House of Savoy until 1473, when he became private property. It was Carlo Emanuele I who, in 1581, acquired these lands again, to make a gift to the Capuchin fathers who already had a small building in the area of Madonna di Campagna.
Jobs for the Capuchin church, which was dedicated to the Marian cult, were begun in 1583; the original design by Ascanio Vitozzi, based on a central plan building a Greek cross, was made by the engineer Giacomo Mannerist style soldiers. Already in 1590 the Capuchins were able to take possession of their convent, but the Church was not yet concluded: the work was completed in 1656, the year of consecration of the building.
The artist Isidoro Bianchi di Campione d'Italia Italy we made numerous frescoes in the years 1630-1633. The high altar is the work of Carlo and Amedeo di Castellamonte, which ultimarono the original project of Vitozzi. In the niches are placed wooden statues by the sculptor Stefano Maria Clemente. In the eighteenth century were then added some precious paintings. =
The Eucharistic Miracle =
Legend has it that during the double siege of Turin, in 1640, the Mount was immediately identified as a place of utmost strategic importance, and the French soon tried to appropriate it. Prince Tommaso Francesco di Savoia ordered count D'Harcourt assault the Hill and the monastery; and so it came to pass: the soldiers had no trouble winning the resistance of the population, but entered the Church to plunder it, as they tell the faithful, a tongue of fire rose from the Tabernacle to protect the consecrated hosts. Says Father Pier Maria from Change:
The French thus by the spoliation desisted holy place. The episode Mystic, still very dear to the torinesi, is commemorated by a painting exhibited in the atrium of the Church. Currently are still visible the bayonet blows and traces of fire on the alleged divine Tabernacle. =
From the 17th century to date =
The October 22, 1656 the Monte dei Cappuccini had the honor of visiting important: that of Queen Christina of Sweden, in exile from his own country to his profession of the Catholic faith. Cristina witnessed the rite of consecration of the new Church.
Despite being recognized place of fundamental importance to control access to Some of the city, the Monte dei Cappuccini was never captured by the French during the famous siege of Turin in 1706, the Duke Louis d'Aubusson de la Feuillade deemed not necessary to place the cannons on Mount, to concentrate fire on the Citadel.
In 1799, the Monte dei Cappuccini was instead chosen by austro-Russian troops which post for artillery that were supposed to bomb Turin if the French, who occupied the city, they offered resistance. In fact, the siege lasted a few hours, but are still evident signs of opposing cannon fire on the wall of the convent.
During the Napoleonic period, with the Suppression of the monastic orders, the convent was temporarily allocated to other uses and rebuilt: the dome's original lead was removed and replaced with a masonry, which even today we can admire.
Badly damaged by bombing during the second world war, the complex has been recently restored.
Some valuable paintings that are in the Church were donated, after the war, the Galleria Sabauda, where they are still.
Currently, in addition to being back home to a convent, houses the Museo Nazionale della Montagna and the seat of the Italian Alpine Club in Turin.
Monte dei Cappuccini is linked to the figure of St. Ignatius from Santhià Lorenzo, Maurizio Belvisotti, proclaimed Saint by Pope John Paul II in 2002. This Capuchin friar, who lived in other convents of Piedmont, ended his life in Santa Maria del Monte the September 22, 1770, after he became a beloved figure to many in Turin (primarily by the Royal family) for his services to the poor and for his charity.
The remains of the father are buried at Monte dei Cappuccini.
Related to the convent of Santa Maria al Monte were, moreover, other church figures and beyond: Turin by Cardinal Guglielmo Massaia to Angelico from None (venerable).
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