"Madonna della Stella, with fascinating story" Top 5 Page for this destination Italy Off The Beaten Path Tip by Trekki
Italy Off The Beaten Path: 432 reviews and 608 photos
This church is an example of a very much unexpected find in the middle of Valle Umbra, away from any village. When I drove from Montefalco to Campello sul Clitunno I suddenly saw this huge church in the distance and wanted to know what it is. I wouldn’t have seen it if it would not stand that much isolated – nothing around but plain meadowns and fields. And when I arrived on the premises, I was amazed of the huge parking facilities and a little shop around the church. Only later (when doing my “post research”) I found out the background of this all. It was a bit difficult as all I found was in Italian only, but “babelfish” helped me to understand what I was reading.
Madonna della Stella (Madonna of the star) was built in Medieval times and dedicated to Sant’ Bartolomeo. Mid of 19th century, so the story tells, voices of the madonna were heard here and that she wanted this church to be restored. In 1861, a little boy, Frederico “Righetto” Cionchi, son of a poor family, said that the painting of the madonna inside the church had spoken to him but as he was the only one, no one didn’t believe him. However, he insisted that there was a beautiful woman in red dress who spoke to him and walked to the little church daily. One year later, a very ill woman was brought to the church and immediately recovered, as soon as she has entered the church. This was the moment when the locals started to believe the boy and the stories about the madonna and started to restore the church. Righetto became a friar and died 1923. Later, his remains were brought to the church, where many people go on pilgrimage to visit his tomb. Next to the church is a little statue (photo 5) in memory of him. It was built at the occiasion of his 100th year of birth in 1957.
As I didn’t know anything of this all when I saw the church, I must have missed a lot. So in case you are interested to visit this church, be prepared and read the long articles in the websites below.
apparition of the Madonna,
story of sanctuary Madonna della Stella
(it is useless to write down the directions of how I found it as I took the most tiniest roads from Montefalco). On SP451 between Bastardo and Spoleto, near Castel Ritardo, or just before Mercatello to be precise, turn north direction (most probably) Il Piano, Borghetto, San Lucca. You will see the church from the road and there should be a sign as well. It is located on Google Maps, but zoom in as much as possible.
Location of Madonna della Stella on Google Maps.
Nearest airport: Roma (Ciampino, CIA or Fiumicino, FCO) or Perugia (PEG).
© Ingrid D., May 2009 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.), update March 2011: region/airport added.
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