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Madonna del Conforto (Arezzo, Toscana, Italy)

Commemorated on February 15
Madonna del Conforto (Arezzo, Toscana, Italy)
An old and tarnished image of the Virgin Mary, shining in 1796 when a group of people of Arezzo pray before her litanies, for protection against earthquakes.
Another famous intercession was when a demanas later came the French invasion, and soon a spontaneous uprising of the people who saw jeopardize their practice of the faith was recorded.
This happened in Arezzo is a town in Tuscany, capital of the province of the same name. It is 215 km from Rome and Florence 75. 
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In the second half of 1700 several earthquakes in Spain, Persia, and also in Italy.
On June 3, 1781 a terrible earthquake devastated several regions of Marche, Umbria, Romagna and Tuscany, causing hundreds of casualties, in 1783, another earthquake in Messina.
Understandably, therefore, the atmosphere of fear and terror that is created in Arezzo and throughout Tuscany, where the February 1, 1796, in the euphoria of carnival, feels the first shock is repeated insistently, albeit to varying degrees in the following days, from 1 to 10 of February more than 30 shocks were recorded.
In addition, the report Abbot Angelucci, earthquakes and other terrestrial phenomena like flashes of fire at night, threatening clouds, turbidity Arno River are verified.
All this portends serious disaster and a state of fear is created. Recognizing in the earthquake a just punishment from God for their sins, and a loving complaint of a better life, they begin the penitential processions with relics of the patron saints of the city, crowded churches and faith-filled confessionals and hope, the inhabitants of Arezzo intensifying begin Lent penance and fasting.
Next to the Puerta de San Clemente, was a Hospice of Camaldolesi Parents, Hospice GRANCIA Della, a kind of farm Camaldoli, where in a basement, parents sold retail wine to help the less well off.
The winery also had a stove that was lit at the time of harvest and for some winter to heat and cook something. You can imagine the smoke-blackened walls and ceiling. Almost perpendicularly above the stove there was a wall with a square of glazed terracotta, representing the Virgin in a medium bust, with a caption underneath saying "Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis."
The image was completely blackened by smoke, dust, moisture vapor from the heat and insects, and also helped to increase the smoke a small oil lamp, placed on the shelf below, which was lit every night devoutly.
The image depicts the Madonna of Provenzano, a native of Siena, so named because it was placed by St. Catherine Benincasa on the wall of a hut built on the ruins of the castle of the hero Provenzano Salvani, Lord of Siena, who died in the battle of Colle di Val d'Elsa (11 June 1269) and remembered with honor by Dante in Purgatorio (XI Purg., 121 -138).
It was a Pieta, the Virgin Mary down from the Cross Jesus on her lap. In 1552, during the Spanish occupation of Siena, a soldier hit the tile with the musket, leaving intact only the upper part of the Virgin, chest and face.
Devotion to those poor remains was immense, its polychrome image spread everywhere and came to Hospice of Arezzo.
The February 15, 1796, the Monday after the first Sunday of Lent, at three in the morning, another earthquake rekindles fear, the destruction of the city of Arezzo is foreshadowed.
At dusk three craftsmen, Antonio Tanti, Giuseppe Antonio Scarpini Brandini and went to the bodega to buy wine, and blackened the image before talking about the painful events of the day and a bad omen for the future.
Suddenly, Tanti makes this exclamation: "Blessed Virgin, this will be a bad night."
And Scarpini continues: "Holy Virgin, I have often cursed, have blasphemed all. We apologize for the love of God. "
Then Domitilla, the barmaid, urges them to prayer and faith in the Virgin. While preparing to pray, Tanti says: "I will light the lamp of the Great Mother of God"
He lit the lamp below the image of Our Lady and all knees will begin the recitation of litanies. Suddenly, the first invocation, one looks up and sees that the image is changing color from yellow-black becomes white and bright. Surprised and excited shouts, "Look, look, the Madonna changes color."
All eyes are fixed on the picture, stand and find that Mary has become snow white and shiny as if his chest had rubies and diamonds. Remove the lamp platform to make sure it is not reflected, but check that the image is really bright white.
From that moment the fear of earthquake faded. Deeply moved, weeping with gratitude to the Virgin who wanted comfort all inhabitants of Arezzo, freeing them from the scourge of earthquake.
The news spread like wildfire, and a large crowd approaches the Hospice, eager to see, learn, play, all crying, all praying, and in the streets no more echo the groans and cries of fear, but the songs of praise and thanksgiving.
The bishop, Monsignor Nicholas Marcacci, after a moment of cautious uncertainty, driven by an inner drive, accompanied by other priests Hospice della GRANCIA to this miracle, has the image to be solemnly carried to the cathedral city and establishes canonical process regularly to determine the truth about everything that happened.
Quickly begins an incessant movement of people to the Cathedral that although wide, is often insufficient to accommodate the many faithful who give thanks and invoke the Virgin. That same night, as a sign of joy and gratitude, a great city lighting improvised.
Soon, however, an earthquake of another kind upsets Arezzo and requires the intervention of Our Lady of Conforto again.
In early April of that year, the French army, led by Captain Lauvergne after setting in the northern cities revolutionary principles contrary to religion and the Church, took Arezzo.
But on the morning of May 6 through the city of Arezzo comes the cry of "Viva Maria". The tree of liberty is cut, and instead a large cross stands, prisoners are released, arrested the Jacobins, the city is decorated with Tuscan banners with papal and Austrian flags, while the bells ring hammer to invite all the counterrevolution.
The French tried a formal resistance, but after a brief exchange of fire, which produced two dead and many injured, quickly left town.
After a solemn procession and ceremony of thanksgiving, it is an army that will eventually include 38,000 men and bring relief to many cities, one after another, rise against the French in defense of the principles Christians.
La Virgen del Conforto is officially proclaimed "Generalísima Navy."
The area is now the cathedral was originally the medieval church of San Pedro Maggiore. In 1203 it was decided to transfer the Cathedral rectory and the bishop's residence inside the city walls.
To that end, the church of San But Maggiore, which was demolished and in its place was built the new cathedral was purchased.
Work began in 1278. In 1289, the year of the defeat of Campaldino, was built only half of the building, so that the body of Bishop Tarlati had to be buried in the church of Poppi Certomondo.
During the first half of '300 third bay was constructed and was started the side door. In 1380 the side door is finished and work (1384) is interrupted because of the domination of Florence. Resumed in 1471 and construction was completed in 1511.
The bell tower dates back to the '800 and the front cover of the early '900.
The cathedral has three naves without cruise, the pillars supporting the arches are five sections. The structure is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, with extreme simplicity and clean lines.
Inside you can admire the stained glass of William of MARCILLAT executed between 1519 and 1524. The Cathedral is the tomb of Gregory X dating from around 1320 - 1330, the chapel Cuccio Tarlati marble by a sculptor from the early fourteenth century Siena, Giovanni D'Agostino.
Three elements make up the largest high: the stone altar supported by four walls decorated materials, dating from the second half of the thirteenth century, the marble altar of the second half of the fourteenth century, the ark of San Donato (1800) .
The design of the wooden choir is 1554 by G. Vasari. A side of the sacristy is a work of Piero della Francesca's fresco Mary Magdalene, executed in 1459.
The first three voltas of the nave were painted by MARCILLAT, while the others are from 1661 Salvi Castellucci.
The Chapel of Our Lady of Conforto (1796 -1817) has three naves with an apse and dome, designed by the Florentine Giuseppe Rosso, has a neoclassical style.



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