Church/Shrine dedicated to the Fallen
At the beginning of Via IV Novembre, in an elevated position, there is the Church/Shrine dedicated to the Fallen of Rocca San Casciano.
The first information about the place date back to a document of 1341 where there is named the Hospital of Sant’Antonio del Fosso di Lavello (ancient name of what the Rocchigiani today call Fosso di Sant’Antonio).
The location of this Opera Pia was not far from today’s Chiesina. Next to the Hospital stood a small Chapel for the comfort of pilgrims described by the Of Castro in the report of the earthquake of 1661 as “a cell, placed to the pincer of the bridge, entitled to Sant’Antonio Abate”.
The latter was the only religious building to remain unscathed by the earthquake of 1661 and for this reason the Rocchigiani decided to temporarily place the image of the Blessed Virgin of Tears put at risk by the damage suffered by the old Church of Santa Maria. In the following years the Celletta collapsed; collapse probably due to the marshy conditions in the area.
After the First World War the Rocchigiani thought of restoring the Church of Sant’Antonio and transforming it into a Memorial to the Fallen, as testified by a plaque placed behind the altar.
In fact, the bodies of the Fallen were placed here, which were initially placed in the Church of the Majesty. The present appearance dates back to 1934 when the Church was rebuilt to a design by the engineer Clemente Ghirelli.
To access the Church dedicated to the Fallen it is necessary to walk a double staircase stone that seems to welcome visitors with an embrace. At the foot of the stairs there is a fountain and a small garden that houses, under a round arch, a bas-relief carved in stone that seems to represent a palm tree.
The facade has hanging arches, a central rose window and a lunette depicting the Madonna with Child and angels with the word invictis underneath. A cuspidated prothirum and two niches with statues of angels complete the decoration.
Inside there is only one altar in white and pink marble where there is the statue of Saint Anthony of Padua and, further back, there is the image of the Virgin of Grace. On the left wall there are two tombstones: the first bears the names of the Fallen of the Great War and the second the names of the victims of the Second World War. On the right wall, however, there is a bronze inscription that proclaims the victory of General Armando Diaz.
Behind the shrine is the Park of Remembrance where, in the shadow of the cypresses, there are remnants of war and small plaques with engraved names of the Fallen.
Next to the church, along the road, there is a fountain that was called “the source of the king” of which it is said that anyone who drank from there would not forget about Rocca.
Credits: Author Avv. Elisa Rabiti