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In the XII century, in the old town centre at the back of the eastern old walls, a new church was built and in 1300 it was dedicated to Saint Francesco of Assisi. The original gothic structure of the church was amply remodeled between the XVII and the XVIII century by the architect Giovanni Battista Rusca from Lugano.
Only two parts of a XVI century fresco, which probably covered the walls of the former building, have come to our times.
The first part is situated in a niche of the wall, behind the first confessional turning right from the entrance. It is only visible moving the curtains, sitting on the confessor’s place and switching on a lamp, provided to this purpose.
The represented subject is a "Pietà", dating back to 1549, which reminds the particular XVI century painting style of the artists coming from the town of Caldarola.
A little more forward, left at the right-side altar, it is possible to admire the second part of the fresco. It portrays "Madonna col bambino e i Santi", probably related to the same cultural context of the first part of the fresco.
The most ancient Franciscan roots in Treia hail from the time of San Francesco d'Assisi, that certainly passed through this land before 1221, going from Forano of Appignano (Macerata) to San Severino Marche. The first settlement of minor friars in Montecchio, was in the church of Santa Margherita, near Vallesacco Door.
The most ancient documents that talk about this little monastery are of 1242 and 1248 and they are in the Accademia Georgica. In the second half of XIII century the saint Pietro Marchionni (said "Beato Pietro da Treia"), many times has lived and preached in that place. Today the church and the monastery don’t exist anymore; there is only the ancient fountain of Saint Margherita that people call still now “Fontana dei frati”.
One of the brightest glories of the monastery and the City was Ilario Altobelli (1560-1637), a religious erudite and pious whom preferred, besides the oratory art, the of languages and physical and mathematical sciences. His vast culture and his big scientific production permitted to him to know the wise men, as Galileo Galilei of whom he was a great admirer and friend.
The mystic loneliness of Valcerasa was a place inhabited by Clareni, the followers of saintAngelo Clareno, whose observed the rule and the poverty. They abandoned him in 1629. Today in a little chapel is conserved his memory and a simple niche, in a near thicket, reminds the place where the saint Pietro Marchionni prayed.
"Dopo i palazzi Acquaticci e Castellani veniva la chiesa più bella di tutte, San Francesco, una chiesa senza archi, senza colonne, senza pilastri tra i quali le cose bisogna cercarle come se facessero a nascondarella; in questa s'entrava e si vedeva tutto; era un immenso salone col soffitto altissimo, tutta luce, tutta colori, tutta quadri e affreschi, tutta cornici e stucchi dorati, altari, pareti e soffitto. Sapevo che il soffitto l'aveva fatto lo zio, "opera sua" sentivo dire. "Quando stava in cima all'armatura” disse la zia e un 'altra volta, dentro la chiesa: "Quello lassù l'ha fatto lo zio", ma non so se "lassù"era tutto il soffitto o qualche particolare. Adesso non lo so, ma allora lo sapevo: era tutto opera sua e la maggior parte del tempo stavo in chiesa guardando il soffitto. Certo è che indorò, stuccò, dipinse, restaurò, qualcosa fece lassù, sul soffitto, la mano e il cuore di mio zio nella luce sempiterna ..."
Da “Giù la piazza non c’è nessuno” di Dolores Prato