Explore Santa Maria di Polsi: A Hidden Gem in Italy

Explore Santa Maria di Polsi: A Hidden Gem in Italy

Santa Maria di Polsi is a pilgrimage church located in the commune of San Luca in Calabria, southern Italy. It is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is known as the “heart of the Aspromonte”. The church is the destination of an annual religious procession, the Feast of the Madonna di Polsi, which takes place in the first week of September.

The origins of Santa Maria di Polsi date back to the late 11th century, when the Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Comnenus granted the area to the Basilian monks of the Monastery of St. Demetrius of Salona. The monks built a small church dedicated to the Virgin Mary in the same location, and it quickly became a popular pilgrimage site. The church was destroyed in the 16th century, but was rebuilt in 1623 and has since been renovated and expanded several times.

History

The origins of Santa Maria di Polsi date back to the late 11th century, when the Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Comnenus granted the area to the Basilian monks of the Monastery of St. Demetrius of Salona. The monks built a small church dedicated to the Virgin Mary in the same location, and it quickly became a popular pilgrimage site. The church was destroyed in the 16th century, but was rebuilt in 1623 and has since been renovated and expanded several times.

The church is located in the mountains of the Aspromonte National Park, and is surrounded by a stunning landscape of rugged mountains and lush forests. The view from the church is breathtaking, and visitors can often spot the nearby Mediterranean Sea in the distance.

The Feast of the Madonna di Polsi

The Feast of the Madonna di Polsi is an annual religious procession that takes place in the first week of September. It is one of the most important religious festivals in Calabria, and is attended by thousands of pilgrims from all over Italy and beyond. The procession begins at the Basilian Monastery in San Luca and winds its way through the mountains of the Aspromonte National Park before arriving at the church of Santa Maria di Polsi.

At the church, the pilgrims participate in a series of religious ceremonies and rituals. They sing hymns, offer prayers and meditations, and participate in a candlelit procession around the church. After the procession, the pilgrims share a meal and celebrate with traditional Calabrian food and wine.

Features

Santa Maria di Polsi is a stunning example of Baroque architecture. The main facade is decorated with ornate stucco work and statues of saints, while the interior is adorned with beautiful frescoes and marble altars. The church also features a large dome, which is supported by four columns.

Frescoes

The church is home to a number of stunning frescoes, which were painted in the 18th century. The frescoes depict scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary and the life of Jesus, as well as scenes from the Old and New Testaments.

The Relic

At the heart of the church is a relic, which is said to contain a fragment of the True Cross. The relic is kept in a silver reliquary and is displayed during the Feast of the Madonna di Polsi. It is believed that the relic was brought to the church by the Basilian monks in the 11th century.

Conclusion

Santa Maria di Polsi is an important pilgrimage site for Catholics in southern Italy. The church is a stunning example of Baroque architecture, and is home to a number of beautiful frescoes and a relic said to contain a fragment of the True Cross. The Feast of the Madonna di Polsi is an important religious festival that takes place in the first week of September, and is attended by thousands of pilgrims from all over Italy and beyond.

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