Tolentino: a combination of art, history and faith!

Atlantic City by night

Atlantic City by night

I’d have never imagined that Atlantic City had something to do with my homeland. Last weekend, I visited this fascinating city in New Jersey with my husband, in order to discover its famous boardwalk and casinos.

The Church of St. Nicholas of Tolentine on Board Walk Avenue in Alantic City, New Jersey (USA)

The Church of St. Nicholas of Tolentine on the boardwalk of Pacific Avenue in Alantic City, New Jersey (USA)

What I certainly did not expect to find here is the church of St. Nicholas of Tolentino on Pacific Avenue that, among other things, is entered in the US National Register of Historic Places.

St. Nicholas of Tolentine in an image of the Italian painter Pietro Perugino (Raffaello's teacher)

St. Nicholas of Tolentine in an image of the Italian painter Pietro Perugino (Raffaello’s teacher)

Saint Nicholas was and Augustinian monk, well-know for his many miracles before and after his death. He was sent to the town of Tolentino in the Marche, where he died in 1305. He was held Holy as he was still alive. His body was buried under the marble arch of the Chapel of the cathedral dedicated to him today.

In the center of the " Cappellone" (big chapel) is located the gravestone with the sculpture of the saint on top of it

In the center of the ” Cappellone” (big chapel) is located the gravestone with the sculpture of the Saint on top of it

The Basilica of Saint Nicholas became one of the most important place of Catholic worship in central Italy and the solemnity of the Saint is still nowadays honored with masses, processions, exhibitions…thousands of pilgrims come and visit the town thanks to Saint Nicholas.

The facade of the Church of St. Nicholas in Tolentine

The facade of the Church of St. Nicholas in Tolentine

My memories of Tolentino date back to when I was still a child, and I came to this town in the province of Macerata with my family for healthy spa treatments. Every time we were driving up to the Saint Lucia Spa, the views of the Devil’s Bridge always made me feel afraid because I remembered the legend that tells the origin of its name, that my mother had told.

Old postcard of

Old postcard of the Devil’s Bridge in Tolentino

The popular belief relates the covenant between the devil and the builder of the flyover, Mastro Benevegna, who in order to overcome the difficulties encountered during construction, enlisted the devil in exchange for giving the soul of the first person to cross the bridge. When St. Nicholas, patron saint of the city, became aware of the agreement, he showed up the day of openining. He then threw a piece of cheese on the bridge and sent a dog to retrieve it, which was the first traveler. Thus fooled the devil.

A most recent image of the bridge, after its restoration

A most recent image of the bridge, after its restoration

During the Second World War, the German troops withdrew and they blew up the central arch of the bridge on June 30th 1944, which was rebuilt in its original form later on. In the area below a green oasis has been created.

During the writing of this post, I learned by reading an article online, that the thermal park of Tolentino has been recognized nationally as a “beautiful and possible” health resort (source: here)

"Torre degli Orologi" in Piazza Liberta'

“Torre degli Orologi” in Piazza Liberta’

Since I’m terribly romantic, when I came home in the Marche, I had a lonely walk through the streets of the Tolentino city center, to call to mind the carefree times when I was having breakfast with my parents under the” Torre degli Orologi“(aka: Tower of Watches) in “Piazza della Liberta’ ” (aka: Freedom Square).

Here's the interior of the room of E

Here’s the interior of the room of Parisian Brezzi Palace where the”Peace of Tolentino” was signed

After a stop long as the time of having a cappuccino and a hot pastry, I went to the Parisani Brezzi Palace, where Napoleon Bonaparte and the Papal States signed the so called “Peace of Tolentino” in 1797, a diplomatic agreement whose clauses have revolutionized Europe.

cart (1)I recomend to visit the town of Tolentino to all travelers and tourists who are looking for the perfect combination between art, history and faith!

 

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