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Lendinara itinerary

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St. Biagio's Church
Piazza Risorgimento
St. Sofia's Church
Bell Tower
St. Giuseppe's Church
Piazza Alberto Mario
Madonna del Pilastrello's Sanctuary

Welcome to Lendinara.
Lendinara is an Italian small town located in Veneto, it has got 12. 148 inhabitants, and it is an important historical and cultural centre.
We know that Lendinara was a significant Roman centre , thanks to some archaeological finds, such as coins, road constructions, and tombstones.
The first important historical document dates back to 870, when Umberto Cattaneo from Verona became liege of Lendinara. His lordship lasted for four centuries. Since the 11th century Lendinara had a famous castle, surrounded by fortifications, and including the biggest part of the town.
As you can see, Lendinara is crossed by the river Adigetto, which divides the town into two parts, and which makes it a very fertile territory. There is another river, called Adige, which marks the boundary with the district of Padova. Thanks to these two rivers, in the Middle Ages, the communications were active and frequent. In 1246 Lendinara was destroyed by Ezzelino da Romano because of its friendship with the San Bonifacio family. After that, Lendinara was yielded to the Estensis.
In the 5th century it became a Venetian possession and enjoyed a prosperous period: the Canozio's school was founded.
In the following three centuries it had a great development from the industrial and economical perspective (1600s), from an architectural point of view (1700s), and also in literature (1700s).
In 19th century Lendinara became a French territory, and then Austrian. In 1866 Veneto became part of the Kingdom of Italy: unfortunately there was an unlucky and hard economical situation, which forced people to emigrate to Brazil.
At the beginning of 1900s the town had an industrial growth with the construction of a sugar factory, a jute factory and a food industry.
At present industry concentrates mainly on furniture, clothing and footwear.
One of the buildings that were not part of the castle was St. Biagio's church. And we will start right from here talking about the most important buildings and places of interest in this beautiful town.

St. Biagio's church
As you can see, the frontage is characterised by four pronaos' columns that support the gable, decorated at the top by statues. Two lateral small-sized wings are delimited by large closed arches. From one of these wings, the seventeenth-century bell tower rises up. The interior of the building, divided into a nave and two aisles, is modulated by big columns which separate the nave from the aisles and the choir. Since the thirteenth century, we know that in Lendinara there was an oratory (dedicated to St. Biagio), and annexed to it, there was a monastery, abandoned only in the fifteenth century by the Umiliati. In 1473 the church and the monastery passed to the "Gerolimini" friars (known as "Fiesolani"). "Zoccolanti" Franciscans also ruled the church and the monastery until 1769. The condition of the church was so bad that it needed a radical restoration, guided by the talented lendinarese architect Giacomo Baccari, in 1803. Works started in the same year and went on, until 1813, then they restarted in 1829 with the collaboration of Jappelli. The new church was consecrated in 1884. We can find some very interesting works of art, such as, on the left, the altar piece representing Crucified Christ and the Saints Marco and Carlo Borromeo (maybe by the artist Malombra); the picture by Gregorio Lazzarini, in the next altar, which represents the exaltation of the Eucharist with some Francescan Saints (1725). On the third left altar we can find the altarpiece with St. Antonio from Padua and angels, painted by A. M. Nardi in 1942.
Going on along the ambulatory, first we find a little picture of St. Bellino, the piece with the Immaculate Conception venerated by the Saints Biagio and Francesco, painted by Lazzarini (1725) and a sixteenth-century picture from some Venetian schools representing the Holy Family, St. Giovannino, St. Elisabetta and some donors. On the 4th altar, on the right, the "Madonna della Cintura" and nine Saints are exposed, a work of art painted by Antonio Zanchi and received from the Church of Cappuccini (in Este) in the XIX century. On the 3rd altar we can admire the massy construction, the radiant chromia and the peculiarity of the landscape in "Visitazione" (1525). In this picture classical elements merge with the psychological naturalism of its characters. The altarpiece of the 2nd altar with St. Nicholas, St. Francis of Assisi, abbot St. Anthony and apostle St. Andrew created by the late Mannerist Andrea Vicentino (1585). On the 1st altar a nineteenth-century painting representing St. Margaret from Cortona is set. We can mention some other works of art, such as wooden statues by artists from Lendinara: a canopy over the main altar (Giuseppe Fava, known as "il Saccadei"), the rood by Ponzilacqua and the nineteenth-century choir by Luigi Voltolini.

Piazza Risorgimento
Let us go out of St. Biagio, and walk straight on until we cross the bridge and we arrive at Piazza Risorgimento, the main square of the town.
Piazza Risorgimento is very important because it is the cultural and political centre. There we can find some remarkable buildings and structures from different ages.
Palazzo Pretorio stands on the square with its impressive build: it dates back to the late 14th century, and it is one of the most ancient monuments in Polesine. It was conceived as a castle. At first it was under the power of the Estensis, and later of the Venetians. It is composed of tower Maistra (25 metres high) and of a lower building with battlements and a large portal.
It was used as a prison and now it is a location in which some lovers set up an exhibition of cribs, which attracts hundreds of people.
Turning on the left, we can see Palazzo Comunale. Erected by the Estensis, it is the town hall. The façade, made of bricks, is divided into two levels: the inferior one is characterized by an arched portico supported by four rectangular windows with a Madonna with the Child's statue at the centre, which took up the image of the Pilastrello's Virgin (1618). We can visit the inside of the Town Hall to approach the "Stanza Canoziana", one of the most significant works of art in Lendinara: the wooden and carved grating and the fretwork by brothers Lorenzo and Cristoforo Canozi, from Lendinara, extraordinary interpreters of Renaissance with beautiful wooden inlays preserved in Modena, Parma and Padua. In the same room there are other interesting things: a topographic map of city made in 1690 by the expert Gaspare Mazzante, and some Risorgimento's relics belonged to Alberto Mario (1825 – 1883) and his wife Jessie White (1832 – 1906).
On the other side of the square, we can find the Clock Tower. In ancient times this tower was one of the entrances to the town. It was transformed into a bell tower in the 17th century. It is characterized by a quadrangular structure, divided into 4 levels, and provided with battlements. The door is made with a Gothic arch.

St. Sofia's church
Walking across the square, going straight on via Varliero, and turning right, in the distance we can see St. Sofia's church, a cathedral with ancient origins. It was built on the ruins of a pagan temple in 1070 as an oratory of the Cattaneo family. In 1674, it was in strong degradation. In 1760 the Molin – Minio family, its new owners, gave the permission to enlarge and to restore the church according to the project of Angelo Santini, an architect from Ferrara. While taxing repeatedly the citizens, works lasted for years, until Domenico Scipioni became archpriest, and involved Francesco Antonio Baccari in the enterprise.
St. Sofia's church is the cathedral of Lendinara. The inside is divided into one nave and two aisles and at the end of which there is a large apse, which is surmounted by a dome. The frescos are very remarkable, and they are painted by Giorgio Anselmi. The first altar holds a painting by Casanova, representing St. Anthony of Padua (1942). In the second altar there is a painting of the 18th century with the Virgin of the Rosary and Saints by the painter G. B. Albrizzi from Lendinara, at first placed on the major altar of St. Joseph's church. The painting with the "Sacred Heart of Jesus" was made in 20th century, painted by B. Biagetti and placed in the third altar on the left. In a little space situated between the third and the fourth altar of the same nave, where a protected area was obtained for the exposition of the three most important works conserved in the church, including the painting by Domenico Mancini from Treviso – dated and signed 1511- representing the Madonna on the throne with the Child and a musician angel.
Another remarkable painting conserved in the little space is the "Madonna with the Child sitting on the throne between the martyr St. Laurence and St. Anthony of Padua" painted by Francesco Bissolo at the beginning of the XVI century, but greatly remodelled in the 17th century; in front of it there is an "Ecce Homo" by Fetti (1615). Of remarkable interest are some paintings conserved in the first three altars on the right. On the first altar, there is a Madonna in Glory with the Child and the Purgatory's souls (around 1700) one of the last works by the estense painter Zanchi. On the second altar the "Descent of the Holy Spirit" (around 1795) is placed, attributed to Domenico Maggiotto, one of the major painters of Piazzetta's school. Another work by Zanchi is on the third altar with the saint apostles Peter and James (or "Papacy's Allegory", around 1700), which is very interesting for the innovative iconography. The big altarpiece in the major altar represents the martyrdom of St. Sofia and her daughters Faith, Hope and Charity, painted in 1793 by the Venetian Carlo Alvise Fabris. On the sides of the presbytery there are two paintings of Agostino Ugolini from Verona: the saints Augustine, Benedict, Scolastica, Chiara and Placido, and the Madonna with the Child in Glory and the saints Andrew Avellino, Gateano from Thane and Valentine, signed and dated 1783 and 1787 respectively.
Near St. Sofia's cathedral there is the bell tower, 101 metres high, the 5th highest tower in Italy.
Next to St. Sofia's Cathedral, there is a little church, Saint Joseph's church, which was built in 1500 for the will of the archpriest of St. Sofia. The church has maintained the original aspect, with a nave, and three lateral chapels on each side and an apse. Two little raised choirs were added to either side of the apse. All the paintings in the church are copies of ancient Bolognese and Roman pictures of the XVIII century, painted by some artists in the St. Luca's Academy.

Piazza Alberto Mario
Crossing the street, we get to a small square named after Alberto Mario. Now you can see the famous statue representing the Italian politician and journalist. Alberto Mario fought together with Garibaldi in the process of the Italian unification. Once completed the unification of Italy, he devoted himself full time to journalism, directing some important publications. He married Jessie White and came into contact with particular personalities, like Mazzini and Cattaneo.

Madonna del Pilastrello's Sanctuary
Before visiting this suggestive sacred building, let us remember the fascinating story of Madonna Nera (Black Virgin) in a few words. It was in 1509, when a strange event happened in Lendinara. During the night, between the 8th and the 9th May, there was a violent storm that caused the eradication of some trees and the uncovering of a lot of houses. Early in the morning, Matteo Brandolese was walking along the road to come to Lendinara (from Cavazzana) and, when he arrived next to Roverese district, he saw a big shimmer coming from a little statue of the Madonnina. The statue was blown along by the wind and finished on a hedge, where it remained for a few days. Lorenzo Malmignati, a lawyer, decided to build a capital in which he could put the statue. Later, in 1570, Ludovico Borezzo needed to restore the capital. During the restoration, a miracle happened, i.e. water took the colour of blood. The same event happened at the end of a procession and on other occasions. The High Council Town decided to take care of the location and on the 20th april 1577 the diocesan authorities, after accurate proceedings, gave the permit to build a sanctuary in the place of the miracle. On the 26th August 1577, the first stone was set and after two years the sanctuary was completed. In 1595 the simulacrum of Madonna was officially consecrated to Madonna del Pilastrello.
Some Benedictine monks were called to officiate the temple; they stayed in Lendinara until the abolition of their religious order, in 1771. The original structure of this monastery was a simple two-floor building, connected to the sanctuary thanks to a room which permitted the passage. It was built at the top by a choir for sick people, a refectory, a kitchen with auxiliary services on the lower floor, and some sleeping-quarters for the monks on the upper floor. Afterwards another building was erected, with almost the same structure as the first one. After the abolition of the religious order, the location was given to some rectors-priests until the return of the Olivetan Monks in 1905.
Let us have a look at the architecture and the decorations of the church. It is made up of a nave and two aisles, thanks to Giacomo Baccari, and by a double-order frontage modulated thanks to pilasters.
Let us enter the church: the inner space is marked by arches which divide the nave from the aisles thanks to pilasters. You can immediately observe the decoration of the archways and the half-dome apse made by Giuseppe Chiacigh between 1939 and 1942. In these pictures there are represented the sacred simulacrum which receives the miraculous strength from Virgin Mary, the salvation from the flood in 1822, the miracle of the preservation from the plague (happened in 1630) and the animal liberation from the plague of 1748. By the artist Chiacigh, we can also mention the coronation of Holy Mary and of the Saints Benedict and Francesca Romana, the blessed Bernard Tolomei, the Nativity of the Virgin and the four prophets; some angels and heraldic symbols in the aisles, and the Cardinal Virtues in St. Anthony's chapel. All these works of art make Pilastrello the first and the most important picture gallery in Lendinara. On the 1st altar on the left we can notice S. Francis visited by an angel by G. Angeli. On the 2nd altar there is a remarkable Ascension of Christ, with apostles and the client V. Malmignati (1580), by Paolo Veronese. It is one of the first works of art which entered the Church and it was ordered by a member of an important family from Lendinara. On the 3rd altar on the left, we can find a contemporary work of art by Montemezzano, learner of Paolo Veronese.
Let us ascend to the altar which preserves the miraculous statue of the Virgin, surrounded by marble angels, sculpted by Giovanni Mario Morlaiter between 1743 and 1745. Other statues of Virginity and Humility come from the same artist, and we can find them at the sides of the main altar, going along the stairway. Going up the stairs on the left side, we find two of the six beautiful paintings by Angelo Trevisani, from the eighteenth-century, about the story of Pilastrello. They tell us about two important miracles of the Virgin: young Lucia Zante resuscitated in her funeral and young Francesca Bimbarto, drowned in Canal Bianco, who is found alive. Going down the stairs, on the other side, we arrive at the chapel dedicated to abbot Celestino Colombo (died in 1935). There is a painting on wood representing St. Peter, by Dossi's School.
On the 2nd and 3rd altars on the right side there are two paintings (from late eighteenth-century) representing St. Anthony of Padua who receives Jesus, and abbot St. Anthony who visits the hermit St. Paul (by Tommaso Sciacca). In the second chapel, we can find two works of art by Trevisani (about 1730): young Maria Rigo is obscured to some malicious patricians (10th May 1591) and Water changed into Blood (1570). We can also notice two statues (among which the second painting by Sciacca is set) St. Sebastian and St. Lucy, works of art by T. Bonazza, from Padua. On the altar on the right the painting representing "the saints Bartholomew, Benedict and the blessed Bernardo Tolomei and the client Bartolomeo and Battista Malmignati" (about 1850) is housed. In the sacristy there are conserved two more large paintings by Trevisani: the city of Lendinara is preserved by the pestilence that rages in other places in Italy and in Polesine (1630) and through the intercession of John the Baptist, the Pilastrello's Madonna saved Lendinara from a tremendous flooding of the Adige (June 24th 1677).
Another painting of remarkable dimensions is the "Glorification of the Mayor of Lendinara" Ludovico Pisani (second part of XVII century), attributed to Andrea Celesti (or to Matteo Ghidoni taking inspiration from the issues allegory – celebratory of the Round's cycle). There is also an intense St. Andrea by J. Ribela (half XVII century), that came from the Griffi's collection, a copy of Guercino. Let us go out of the sacristy and get to the Bath Chapel.
The architectural layout was strongly wished by Giacomo Baccari, despite many remakes and additions of following epoch. On the left we can see the miraculous fountain carved in 1910 by the painter Policronio Cadetti, from Melara. On the walls we can see the 1800s cycle of the paintings with the miracles of the Virgin of Pilastrello by Giovanni Baccari, which accompanies the devotee to the Angels of the monolithic marble basin realised at the beginning of 1900s.
There are some more attractive particular buildings and places to visit in Lendinara, more cultural and historical centres to detect, but we have not enough time to do it. You can go freely to visit these places and if you want some information, you can contact us whenever you want at the IAT Lendinara (phone number 0425642389).
We hope you had fun and you will return to Lendinara in the near future. Thank you very much and goodbye.

Sintesi del percorso e traduzione a cura delle stagiste Caterina Magosso e Valentina Trambaiolo (Biblioteca Comunale, luglio 2012);
Testo inglese rivisto dal prof. Romano Travaglini di Lendinara.

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