Capannori - The Sanctuary of Madonnina
History and architecture
The construction of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Carmine or "Madonnina" dates back to 1663 and it is almost entirely preserved in its original structure. The works were made by the architect Giovan Battista Padreiddio. The interior in a bright baroque style is constituted of a nave with four chapels, two for each side, divided by pilasters that sustain the arches of the vault.
Miraculous events took place in the sanctuary visited by many worshippers.
In 1940, the Discalced Carmelites took possession of the Sanctuary from Monsignor Antonio Torrini, archbishop of Lucca, so to increase and guarantee the worship of Our Lady of the Carmine and to build a Seminary next to the Sanctuary.
In 1941 the first stone of the Seminary "Virgo Carmeli" was laid down, but the war stopped all activities and the bombing of the 24th of July 1945 destroyed the glass doors of the "holy " Sanctuary.
After the war, a rich altar dedicated to Our Lady (the present one) and the bell tower were built as a sign of thanking to God.
On the 27th of October of 1963, as last work of enlargement of the Sanctuary, a marble statue of the Virgin (4 metres high and made by the sculptor Antonio Berti) was placed on the summit of the dome.
Works of art
The beauty of the Sanctuary is mostly visible in the interior of the structure, where we can admire the glass doors rebuilt by Ugo Signorini, the Crucifix and the frescos of Pietro Nerici and the other frescos made by Baragatti, Carmignani and Chiti (paintings added only after 1951).
The glass doors show the images of Patrons and Founding Fathers of the Carmelites Order: Saint Joseph, Saint John of the Cross, the prophet Elia and Saint Teresa of Avila.
In the Refectory we find one of the early works of Nerici, "The Last Supper", and in the new basilica we find episodes of Jesus' life and a big Crucifix, both realized after the return of the artist from Brasil. The comparison between the two painting cycles shows us the evolution and the personalization of the artist's technique.
The decoration of the presbitery is the original one, considerably restored. The ceiling is painted and shows images of Prophets with the Virgin with Child in the centre.
The walls next to the altar are also painted: the pictures represent two scenes of the Guardian Angel.