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The Basilica di Santa Rita da Cascia

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Cascia
The Basilica di Santa Rita is a 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. The planning of the church was committed to the Vatican engineer Monsignor Spirito Maria Chiavetta and carried out by the architects Giuseppe Calori 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 message.

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 Umbrian churches.

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'', ''The 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 Cascia'' 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 Ferrazzi's 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 at 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, Gengo and Caproni.
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Rita da Cascia,  the ''Saint of the Impossibilities'' - Umbria has been defined the ''Factory of the Saints'', a territory where figures, who became real icons of devotion, flourished. One of the most known and wo... The_Basilica_di_Santa_Rita_da_Cascia_country_houses
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