Tourist Attraction in L'Aquila: Basilica di Santa Maria di Collemaggio
The Basilica of Santa Maria di Collemaggio is a religious building of the Aquila, just outside the city walls, on the hill. Founded in 1288 by the will of Pietro da Morrone, here crowned Pope by the name of Celestino fifth, August 29, 1294, is considered the highest expression of Abruzzo architecture as well as the symbol of the city and was declared a national monument in 1902. It is the seat of an annual jubilee, the first of history, set up with the Bounty of Forgiveness of September 29, 1294 and known by the name of Perdonanza Celestiniana; therefore it is characterized by the presence, on the side facade, of a Holy Door. Beginning in 1327, the Pope's body is buried in the basilica; initially in a tomb of the lateral chapel, while since 1517 his body was placed inside a monumental mausoleum created by Girolamo da Vicenza, maestro of Andrea Palladio. The church, which boasts the title of a minor basilica with the fellow citizens San Bernardino and San Giuseppe Artigiano, has been overhauled several times over the centuries, mainly due to the damage caused by frequent earthquakes and has a mixture of different architectural styles. Following the 2009 earthquake, it has been closed to the public since 2013 and is being restored from 2015. In December 2017, final reopening is scheduled for the public. Before the construction of the basilica, the Collemaggio area a small promontory at the gates of the city of L'Aquila was probably occupied by a religious building, known as the Church of Santa Maria dell'Assunzione and of which, to date, ancient loggione, perhaps in the same Cistercian style of the monastery of Santa Maria di Poblet in Catalonia. In this church, in the seventies of the 13th century, he found refuge in Peter de Morrone, traveling to France to attend the Second Council of Lyons; the hermit, according to tradition, encountered in a dream the Virgin and conceded the construction in the same place as a new majestic basilica. By surprise, on July 5, 1294, Pietro da Morrone was elected pope. The hermit, at first, refused the charge, except to return to his footsteps, probably driven by the duty of obedience. Escorted by the royal procession, Pietro went to the Aquila and, precisely in the basilica of Santa Maria di Collemaggio he strongly wanted, was crowned Pope by the name of Celestino V on August 29, 1294. At that date the church was certainly completed and showed a a five-tributary apsidal plant more complex than the present, making it the largest religious building of the Abruzzi; a lateral door was also realized, which, by virtue of the establishment of the Celestial Pardon by the pontiff, acquired the characteristics of the Holy Door, the first in the world. However, after only four months of mandate, Celestino V returned the papal insignia and renounced the post. He was caught while leaving Italy, eager to return to the hermit and imprisoned in Cocociaria's Fumone fortress, where he died on May 19, 1296. He was originally buried in the nearby Celentine Abbey of Ferentino. The hermit Pope's popularity, coupled with the excellence of the Great Rejection and the peculiarities of the Aquila Jubilee, aroused the pilgrims' visit to the Aquilian Basilica, multiplying even more as a result of the canonization of Celestino V in 1313 by Pope Clement V and, above all, the relocation of the relics of the saint from Ferentino to Aquila in 1327.