The medieval Church of San Biagio

In 1734 the medieval church of San Biagio was rebuilt, next to the Castle – even if the faithful considered it inconvenient.

There is no specific date for the Church of San Biagio’s construction. It is situated next to the Castle and was mentioned at the end of the 12th century as being among the parishes dependent on the parish of Torre Maina. It is safe to say that its foundation dates back earlier. What is certain is that the 1501 earthquake damaged the church’s structure as much as it damaged the Castle.

The church as we see it today is the result of a comprehensive reconstruction dated 1734. A plaque in the outside yard contains the exact year of the rebuilding. Another plaque testifies to the addition of more rooms which were blessed by the Bishop Fogliani of Modena in 1762. However, despite these improvements, things did not work out for poor old San Biagio Church.

Structural damages appeared at the end of the 1700s. The construction of the Via Giardini in 1766 had changed the natural slope of the soil. Also, the Church already proved rather inconvenient for the faithful, especially the more elderly or disabled, who found themselves having to climb a steep ramp to go to Church. Headway started to be made on an idea to build a new Church further downstream, nearer the village.

The initiative died even before it materialised into a real project. The Napoleonic invasion froze these and other plans. Once Napoleon had been defeated, following the 1815 Restoration, the area had to wait until the end of the 19th century for the inauguration of the new San Biagio Church, the construction of which was carried out amid controversy and arguments.

The old church remained, deconsecrated, holding on to the castle. When the castle complex became the property of the artist Giuseppe Graziosi, from 1936 to 1942, the Church became his studio. There are pictures where 18th-century interiors appear dotted with statues and artwork. In recent times, its structure has been renovated and adapted.

 

Bibliography

Silvano Soragni “Maranello. Dal Castello feudale… al Maestro Giuseppe Graziosi”, Artioli, 2007.