The abbey is located along the mid-valley of the river Potenza, nearby Pollenza old town centre. Santa Maria di Rambona is one of the most suggestive religious structure in Macerata’s province, even if the monastery is nearly disappeared, and from the Roman church remain only a three apses presbytery and the crypt. The front part is completely hidden by private houses, but the ancient church entrance and the ancient façade are still visible, in part.
During the High Middle Age, the monastery was very important as it had the jurisdiction to all the big area from the slopes of the Sibillini mountains to the mouth of the river Potenza
The Abbey, whose origin is related to the arrival in the area of Benedictine monks around the 18th century, experienced its era of maximum splendour towards the end of the 9th century, when the Lombard Queen Ageltrude provided a new impulse for the Abbey by founding a church on the site of a pagan temple dedicated to the goddess Bona, from whom Rambona derives its name.
After a long period of prosperity, it was sacked and partially destroyed by Francesco Sforza in 1433 and from then onwards began its period of decline. From 1483 to 1821 it was placed under lay administration and subsequently became private property, retaining, however, its parish functions from 1819. Over the course of time the monastic structure underwent numerous refurbishments, including work which re-used architectural and decorative materials from the Roman period dating back to the 11th and 12th centuries.
Of particular interest is the crypt designed with five aisles divided by Roman columns with Romanesque granite and marble columns with sculpted capitals, one different from the other. All the decorations represent the typical Christian symbolism: baskets, little palms, and typical Middle Age beasts (the lion- representing Christ’s resurrection, the pelican – Christ feeding his Church, etc.). Those are typical from the Romanic age (12th Century). But the original structure was built during the High Middle Age, and had a typical structure in Ottonian style: a unique nave, with a deep apse flanked by two rectangular sacellums (with two little apses too), and connected to the central nave with a big lateral arcade. In the central apse remain two frescos representing the Holy Mary sitting on a throne and Saint Amico that is curbing a wolf.
Opening times: from Monday to Friday 4 PM - 7.30 PM
Saturday and Sunday 10 AM-12 AM / 3 PM- 7.30 PM
Guided tours: Saturday and Sunday 10 AM-12 AM / 3 PM- 7.30 PM
In July and August guided tours on THURSDAY and FRIDAY (with the same schedule).
For informations and for non-scheduled tours: Don Giuseppe Verdenelli - Tel. 0733 / 216696 - 368 / 7162337 Feliziani Tarcisio - Tel. 0733 / 542131 - 335 / 442496 Address Località Rambona Details e-mail Date of building: VIII sec. d. C.
-Cantagallo’s Battle – 2nd and 3rd of May 1815
In May 1815, a battle took place in the areas around Macerata, Pollenza and Tolentino. This was a real important event for the Italian history. In this battle, the Neapolitan army lost against the Austrian troops.
It was a tremendous conflict: on one side, an army led by Gioacchino Murat, king of Naples and Napoleon Bonaparte’s brother-in law, and on the other side the Austrian army, led by the field marshal Federico Bianchi. The bloody battle had been named in different ways during the years: Rancia’s battle, Cantagallo’s battle, Tolentino’s battle, Macerata’s battle, or even Monte Milone’s battle (Pollenza’s ancient name, until 1862), and it is surely considered the most important historical event of Macerata’s province.
On 30th March 1815, Gioacchino Murat invited the italian people to fight for the independence with the famous “Proclama di Rimini” (Rimini’s edict), trying to reinforce his army with patriotic people.
Even if the battle went wrong, May 1815 may be considered a first step in the Italian “Risorgimento”, that would lead to the Italian unification.
Address Altura di Cantagallo in Pollenza
-Immaculate Conception’s church
The church was built in the 17th century (as proved by an official document preserved in the Town Historical Archive), and is nestled in the buildings overlooking the main square, “Piazza della Libertà”. According to the official document, Borromeo Accursi, as a testament on the 17th December 1697, left part of his goods for building four chaplaincies inside the Holy Mary Immaculate Conception’s church. The building of the church started in 1821 (as written in a plague inside the church, at the right side of the transept) and it is very particular, thanks to its neoclassical façade. Four high plinths support flat lesenes, perfectly inserted in the wall. Over these, a frame, enriched with triglyph and metopes decorated with floral elements.
In the facade, there is as well a central tympanum, held in a shaped frame. The lateral compartments, created in the middle of the lesenes, have rectangular windows, on the top of the middle part, a half-circular Diocletian window. Over the portal, there is a flat notice with the Latin inscription: DEO MAGNO AETERNO SACRUM IN HONOREM DEI PAR DEIPARAE AB ORIGINE IMMACOLATAE ANNO DOMINI MDCCCXXIII.
The interior is in a Greek cross structure and is very narrow, due to the loss of the fourth arm of the church in the 1800, during the renovation of the main square; for this reason, the front part of the church was demolished so to be at the same level as the adjacent buildings. The main altar is decorated with two angels’ figures 8made in an antique factory in Pollenza) over standing the Holy Mary.
Address Piazza della Libertà Date of building: 1821
-Madonna della Pace’s church
This little church is located on the top of the Colle Della Croce (Crucifix’s hill), in the middle of some trees.
It has an octagonal and Greek cross structure, with a round vault dome and a little cupola. Its façade is rose-colored and it is adorned by flat lesenes. Inside, three altars consecrated to the Holy Mary, to the Blessed Crucifix and to Saint Diego and, on its ornament sides, Saint Anthony from Padua and Saint Francis from Assisi’s representation.
There is as well a very interesting fresco, representing the “Madonna Della Pace” (Holy Mary of Peace): it was taken from the demolished Piè di Terra’s church and put here. This fresco represents the Holy Mary with a delicate face, surrounded by golden clouds and seems like she giving her devotees “confidence and devotion”.
The priors and the city council decided to put this Holy Mary’s blessed representation (made by an unknown painter) in a deign temple, so it could remind as well the peace’s agreement with the city of Tolentino, signed in 1547, after many bloody conflicts, due to the Rancia’s castle possession.
Even if a city council’s deliberation approved the opening on 5th of February 1612, the church was opened for the citizens only in 1644, due to the scarceness of money, and after the donation of the decent ornaments and of a little adjacent terrain.
Address Viale Dante Date of building: XVII sec.
-Roman sacrifical altar
It is dated from the Roman imperial period. Address Inside Pollenza’s Civic Museum.
-Saint Biagio’s church
Impressive church, with its greek cross structure; the interiorior is full of paintings and decorations created by Domenico Tojetti, Virginio Monti, Giovanni Cingolani, Biagio Biagetti, Giuseppe Fammilume; over the main entrance there is a Callido pipe organ dated 1793. It is considered Pollenza’s building-symbol, thanks to its white and reflecting surface, its Neoclasical pronaos with a tympanum over standing and the impressive size. Designed in 1834 by De Mattia, from Treia, was constructed on the ruins of another little church, existed in the same place, since 1269, and that was under the control of Rambona’s abbey. Est-oriented, toward Jerusalem, the previous church had a cloister and a monastery annexed. In 1791, the religious and civil authorities decided to demolish it and to re-build it more ample and adjusted to the population’s needs.
The original idea of the building, designed by the architect Bracchi (inspired by the Pantheon of Rome), so as its works did not last so long, as in the 1806 the roof collapsed down. The reconstruction started immediately and in 1834, with the imprimatur of San Luke’s academy of Rome, the design made by the architect De Mattia was realized, inspired by the church of Monte San Pietrangeli (designed by Valadier).
The church was consecrated in 1844; It is composed by four protruding Ionic columns, that sustain the tympanum and the bell tower (35 meters high), a little behind considering the façade, as it was built on the ruins of an ancient tower.
In its interior (in Greek cross structure), there is an ample cupola, enriched by frescos made by the roman painter Virginio Monti, who decorated as well the Main Chapel and the central part of the church.
Behind the altar, a beautiful canvas, made by the roman painter Domenico Tojetti, stands out. It shows Saint John the Baptist and Saint Biagio, standing under the Holy Mary. On the sides, there are two little chapels, reserved for the confraternities: on the left side, the Blessed Sacrament’s chapel and on the right side, the Blessed Crucifix’s chapel.
The first one, decorated by the painter Giovanni Cingolani from Montecassiano, represents the Eucharist’s story and the glorification, while the right chapel, shows the “Christ’s passion”, and it was painted by Biagio Biagetti, from Porto Recanati.
Opening hours: during religious functions Address Via Roma Date of building: 1834-44
-Saint Francis and Saint Anthony’s Church and convent
This was the ancient Holy Mary’s church, dated 13th century, and that was under the control of Rambona’s abbey. There is a Franciscan cloister annexed to the church. There are many religious legends on this church: a hospice was annexed to it, and in this place Saint Amico, the most important monk from Rambona’s abbey, died in 996, and in 1215 here was hosted Saint Francis from Assisi, during his long trip to Loreto. That is why in 1285 the Franciscan order received the church and the annexed hospice as a donation.
In 1496 Pollenza was stricken by a terrible plague but, according to the legend, Saint Anthony did a miracle and helped the city to destroy the plague; for this reason, Monte Milone’s council commissioned a wood altarpiece, decorated by Lorenzo D’ Alessandro, from San Severino Marche, and today it is still located behind the main altar. The painting shows Saint Anthony, with a book and a lily, and with his sight pointing towards the Holy Mary and Baby Jesus that appear in the upper-right corner. Under the saint, a group of Pollenza’s citizens praying, and in the background, Montemilone in the 15th century.
Architect Tranquilli expanded and transformed the original temple in 1784, designing a compartment with a longitudinal map, with a unique aisle with a barrel vault, and with equally spaced Ionic lesenes.
In August 1931, Bazzani designed the facade, framing the antique gothic portal. The façade join tradition and modernity, guzzling the antique portal, in a context of saints, made in Liberty style and diluted by the mosaics, a reference to the Middle Age techniques.
The choice to put the Holy Mary on the top of the tympanum is for celebrating the Franciscan order, of whom the Holy Mary is the protector.
The portal is dated 1377 and it has an ogee and trefoil arch, that is sustained by pilasters, alternated by little columns. The pediment has on its top a gemmed cross and in the center, the Piani’s family emblem.
From the Romanic Church remain the polygonal apse, sustained by strong buttress connected to the vertex by small-blank arches.
Opening hours: during religious celebrations Address Via Roma Date of building: ending of 18th century
-Saint Joseph’s church and cloister
The church is annexed to the Poor Clare’s cloister. It has an ancient portal, dated 16th century and decorated with triglyph and stylised flower. The interior is composed by one nave, adorned by three altars, with impressive golden wood machine, dated the end of the 17th century (baroque style). In one of these, there is a painting, representing Saint Catherine’s wedding, and which recall the “roman school” with its colors and its setting; under the main altar, Saint Giacinto’s rests: he was a roman soldier, died as a martyr, and the altar on the right side is consecreted to him.
There is as well a copy of a canvas representing Saint Joseph’s transit and painted by Sebastiano Conca, called “il Cavaliere”, the knight (1680-1764). The original painting was stolen by the Napoleonic troops, and now is conserved inside Brera’s art gallery, in Milan.
Beyond the iron grating, behind the main altar, you can glimpse a walnut choir, with 2 orders and 25 seats.
Opening hours: every day, for the rituals. Address Via Roma
It has an elegant Baroque front door and a Clock Tower with a dome in the Sansovino’s style with a little iron belfry on its top. Date of building: 1775