Discover Roccaporena: Santa Rita’s hometown
When we talk about Santa Rita, we immediately think of the city of Cascia, but what few people know is that, in fact, Santa’s hometown is Roccaporena, both in Umbria, and that’s where we’re going today. Let’s go to our post of the day? Discover Roccaporena: Santa Rita’s birthplace. Here at Your Travel to Italy with Ana Patricia you make the trip of your dreams !!! ALSO: see our “Accommodation in Italy – Tips for your holidays!”.
There is no doubt that Santa Rita’s life was fascinating and her story will forever be fondly remembered by her devotees. Although Santa chose Cascia to write her story, few people know that, in fact, her hometown is Roccaporena, also in the Umbria region and that is where we are going today. Learn all about Cassia here!
A little about Roccaporena
The city of Roccaporena has been inhabited since pre-Christian times and has always had a religious connotation long before the birth of its illustrious Saint. Researchers have already confirmed that in the Middle Ages, the city of Roccaporena was part of Castaldato Equano which, back then, was part of the Duchy of Spoleto founded in 571 by the Lombards. The inhabitants of this region worked predominantly in the countryside and cultivated cereals and bred various animals. Find out here how to get to Cassia from Rome!
In 1080, the monks of Farfa separated ancient Castaldato into eleven monastic communities and the fourth part of this was destined for Roccaporena. A monastery was founded there, which would later be dedicated to St. Montano under the Rule of St. Benedict. Until 1900, which was the year of the canonization of Santa Rita, Roccaporena remained almost intact to what it was in the 14th and 15th centuries: isolated, quiet and with only one access that reached Cassia, following the course of the stream and passing through Corno and under the cliffs of Colle Castellano. Shortly after the periods of the two world wars, the road that connects the village to the capital was paved and today it allows access to the thousands of pilgrims who pass through it every year.
1) Discover Roccaporena: VISIT THE NATAL HOME OF SANTA RITA
Santa Rita’s Casa Natal is one of the most famous and unmissable places, without a doubt. Santa Rita’s birthplace is still there, but it’s important to remember that the house may not actually be the house where Santa was born: I’ll explain. There are no concrete records on the subject, however, after several researches by historians, they believe that the house really is this one. Cardinal Fausto Poli, knowing that Rita was highly venerated there, ordered the house to be adapted into a chapel, which would serve as a ‘certificate’ in case something happened to the house. The house is simple, but has an energy of peace and tranquility, which attracts many tourists throughout the year.
2) Discover Roccaporena: VISIT THE MARRIAGE HOUSE OF SANTA RITA
Another must-see is the Marriage House of Santa Rita. Here Rita lived from the time she got married until the day she was accepted into the Order of St. Augustine. In 1599, an earthquake devastated the entire city, but this house remained intact. Inside the house you can see a famous painting that shows Rita receiving the thorn. The painting is from the mid-17th century and was commissioned by Cardinal Poli from the Neapolitan painter Luca Giordano.
3) Discover Roccaporena: VISIT LAZZARETO
Be sure to also visit Lazzareto, which was the place where Rita took care of the sick and foreigners. In Rita’s time, the place was put under the protection of the Madonna della Concezione and many foreigners stopped there, as they knew they would be welcomed. The name “Lazzareto” comes from being a place used as a health unit during the plague epidemics that ravaged Umbria. Of the three rooms that were there, today we only have two. The frescoes in the rooms are from the 16th century.
4) Discover Roccaporena: VISIT THE CHURCH OF SAN MONTANO
The Church of San Montano is also an important point in the city. The church dedicated to S. Montano dates back to the twelfth century and played a key role in the thirty-six years that Rita lived in Roccaporena. It was here that she received her first religious instruction, and married Paolo di Ferdinando. The church we see today is the result of several works over the years. The oldest of them had only one nave and is now on the left; the nave on the right was built in the 14th century.
5) Discover Roccaporena: VISIT THE MIRACLE GARDEN
It is also impossible to miss the so-called Miracle Garden. A beautiful garden full of roses and figs. They say that on October 30, 1526, the Commission for the Cause of Beatification went to the small garden and there they found the fig tree. But why is this tree so important? Because it bears fruit, too, in winter, since the fruit – in theory – does not grow in low temperatures. Inside the building present there, there is a bronze statue by the sculptor Rodolfo Maleci (1941) that presents the seriously ill Saint; at that moment she would have asked for “a rose and two figs from the garden in Roccaporena”. Knowing that during winter this would be impossible, they went to the garden and found what Santa Rita had asked for; there is an inscription there that tells this story and dates from 1600.
6) Discover Roccaporena: VISIT THE ROCK OF PRAYER
The Rock of Prayer is another point visited by pilgrims! It was there that Rita took refuge to pray and talk to God. The Rock of Roccaporena is 827 meters high and, at the top, was the “Rocca del Barone”, a kind of late Roman watchtower that was destroyed during the barbarian invasions of the 6th century. Rita was a woman of prayer and in her intimate relationship with God, she found the strength to transfigure reality without running away from it and live it intensely with wisdom and love, spreading it to others. The small church found there is from 1919 and was restored in 1941 and 1979, due to an earthquake that left it almost completely destroyed.
7) Discover Roccaporena: VISIT THE SANCTUARY OF SANTA RITA
The Sanctuary of Santa Rita de Roccaporena is one of the most beautiful in Italy. It was consecrated in 1948, and its design was made by the architect Oreste Della Piana, from Turin. In the four-sided portico we can see the beautiful facade, a fountain, and a statue of Santa Rita. Two chapels are next to the central nave and, in the one on the right, the Saint’s mantle is preserved in a silver box. The apse mosaic was made by Righini-Politi and inaugurated on June 18, 1967, depicting the Crucifix, the Addolorata, Saint Augustine, Saint Nicholas of Tolentino, Saint Rita, Saint John the Baptist and Saint Montano. It’s gorgeous!
Good to know…
Guys, the city is a delight and offers us an atmosphere of peace that few cities in the world can achieve. It is possible to visit the main spots in just one day, but if I can give you one piece of advice: don’t do these routes in a hurry. Golden Tip: Cascia is just 6 kilometers from Roccaporena. If you want to know more about Cascia, I invite you to know our section about Cascia, click here to know more!
Map from Cassia/Cascia to Roccaporena
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