The Basilica di Santa Rita
very recent work, it was built in nine years, from 1938 to 1947. It rises in
place of a sacred building from the 16th
century which was consecrated
to Mary Magdalena
, and the Renaissance theatre Flavio
planning of the church was committed to the Vatican engineer Monsignor
Spirito Maria Chiavetta
and carried out by the architects Giuseppe
and Giuseppe Martinenghi
. It was the intension of the planner
and the builders that the basilica should look like the result of the fusion of
different styles and symbolize the harmony and the peaceful coexistence of
heterogeneous elements, that it should be a symbol for the universality of Rita's
The façade is made of white travertine from Tivoli
, with a big cross at
its centre at the sides of which stand out two belltowers characterized by
spires of green copper.
The basilica's structure has the form of a Greek cross with four apses. Of
particular interest is the women's gallery of the second order, the room
reserved for the Augustinian enclosed nuns, which is not very usual in the
The decoration of the entrance's apse was committed to Silvio Consadori
who depicted the ''Triumph of the Cross''
in a style characterized by a
strong plasticism and a lively emphasis on colour. In the basilica are other
works of this painter, like ''The resurrection of Lazarus''
Flight from Egypt''
and ''Christ among the scribes''
The chapel on the right side was decorated by Gisberto Ceracchini
who carried out ''The Dogma of the Assumption''
, too, as well as ''Roccaporena
and ''The Deposition from the Cross''
The chapel on the left side, where the
body of Santa Rita is kept, is decorated with the artist Ferruccio
works, from which stands out ''The Glorification of the Saint''
It is an intentionally simple picture where the icon of the saint is extremely
near to the humble and the poor, it has a gentle and modest look and was
designed with lines far from any mannerism and preciosity. Here the image of
Rita is quite near to the common picture the popular devotion has of the saint,
as it images her near to their sufferings and to their distress.
In the middle of the chapel stands the shrine which contains the mummified body
of Santa Rita, brought to this place in May 1947.
The part of the high altar which is dedicated to worship is characterized by
the liturgical furnishings carried out by the sculptor Giacomo Manzù
The Basilica Inferiore
The Basilica Inferiore
is a modern and recent structure carried out in
1988, with the objective to keep a holy relic in the memory of a miracle, that
happened in 1330, when a Sienese priest who was bound to visit a sick person
used a Host as a bookmark, putting it between the pages of his breviary,
debasing so its function. When he opened the breviary he noticed that the Host
had liquefied to blood. The Sienese priest gave the breviary marked with the
miracle to Beato Simone Fidati da Cascia
, who was at Siena
that time. One of the two pages was brought to Perugia
, while the other one was
kept in the Convent of Sant'Agostino di Cascia
At the right side of the Basilica Inferiore, near the bones of Beato Simone
Fidati da Cascia, is the shrine which contains the miraculous page.
Between the Basilica Inferiore and the Basilica Superiore
is the Penitentiary
which was planned by the architects Scrimieri
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