Religious Places

Church of Madonna della Rocca

Adjacent to the Castle is the small Church of the Madonna della Rocca, built to protect the people of Tolfetta from above. Anciently called Santa Maria de Arce, the Sanctuary of medieval origins, represents one of the most important symbols of the people of Tolfeto who found refuge there while expressing their devotion to the Virgin. The Sanctuary has reached our days after numerous restorations. Inside, there is a precious oil-painted canvas of the XVI century representing the Deposition of the Cross with the Virgin Mother sitting and holding in her bosom the body of her son just deposed from the Cross. The work is attributed to the Carracci brothers, prominent painters of the early Baroque period, authors among others of the cycle of frescoes of Palazzo Farnese in Rome. The imposing marble altar, instead, was designed by the Franciscan artist Father Cosma da Cori, under the guidance of a lay hermit, Fra’ Giuseppe Catalini, who dedicated fifty years of his life (1861-1911) to the care of the Sanctuary. The altar was made with precious materials by Ercole Alliata of Civitavecchia and Luigi Martinelli of Rome, well-known marble artists. Fra’ Giuseppe Catalini also contributed to the creation of the Sacristy and of the Via Matris, formed by seven crosses symbolizing the seven pains of Mary, and he also took care of the realization of the road and of the gate placed in front of the door of the church.

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