What to see in Cascia, itinerary including the main places where Santa Rita lived, starting from history in a crescendo of deep spirituality linked to the Sanctuary.
Town of Umbria in the province of Perugia, Cascia stands on the slopes of a hill, at an altitude of 653 meters.
The place where Cascia stands today was in Roman times an important center, called Cursula, as evidenced by various archaeological finds that took place in the area.
Among these testimonies the important architectural remains of the temple of Villa San Silvestro stand out.
After a devastating earthquake in 63 BC, Cursula was first called Cassia, from the surname of a Roman noble family, subsequently taking the name of Cascia.
With the collapse of the Roman Empire and the arrival of the barbarian populations, the looting and invasions of the Lombards and the Franks began, until the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Otto I, donated Cascia and much of the Valnerina to the Pope .
After the year 1000 Castrum Cassiae was born, or the fortified castle, located on the hill dedicated to Sant'Agostino.
In 1198, the Swabian Duke of Spoleto, placed under the government of the city by Emperor Barbarossa, was forced to submit to Pope Innocent III, who favored an autonomous form of administration which led to the birth of the Municipality.
The fifteenth century was characterized by an important flourishing of the arts, crafts and commerce, which continued also in the first half of the sixteenth century, when the municipal autonomy ran out and the papal commissioner replaced the podestà.
However, Cascia remained linked to the Papal States, excluding the short Napoleonic period, until 1860, when it became part of the Kingdom of Italy.
The town of Cascia is known because in 1381 in Roccaporena, a town located about 5 km away, Santa Rita was born, who was baptized with the name of Margherita, then proclaimed Saint by Pope Leo XIII on May 24, 1900.Recommended readings
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At sixteen Rita married Paolo di Ferdinando Mancini, had two sons, led a simple life full of prayer, helped her husband to convert and live honestly, until he was murdered, victim of hatred between the factions.
Rita managed to forgive the killers, while the children were tempted by revenge, but their mom prayed that they would not ruin themselves humanly and spiritually.
Both died of illness at a young age.
Remained alone, with the power of prayer, Rita dedicated herself to reconciling families and pacifying souls, before entering the Augustinian monastery of Santa Maria Maddalena in Cascia, where she lived for forty years, praying, serving God and neighbor with joy , always attentive to the problems of its environment and of the Church of its time.
He died on May 22, 1457 and his bones since May 18, 1947 rest in an urn in his sanctuary.
The ancient part of the monastery of Santa Rita da Cascia, dedicated to Santa Maria Maddalena, dates back to the end of 1200.
Between 1938 and 1947 the current church was built to replace an earlier one, rebuilt in 1557 and already dedicated to Santa Rita.
The Church of Sant'Agostino, which is located near the fortress, at the highest point of the hill, was built in 1059, on top of the remains of a pagan temple, and was subsequently enlarged in 1380.
To underline, under the current building of worship, a part of what remains of the previous church, with valuable Umbrian decorations from the Marche.
The Sanctuary of Santa Rita, the main destination for those arriving in Cascia, was built in the period between 1937 and 1947, in the same place where the ancient Augustinian church once stood, which was adjacent to the monastery where Santa Rita died in 1457.
Located in the highest part of the historic center of Cascia, perfectly inserted in the urban context, the building of worship has two pillars placed on the sides of the entrance door, which carry important episodes of the saint's life carved.
Inside, the main altar is finished with reliefs depicting the Last Supper, it also contains the Body of Christ which Simone Fidati, blessed of the order of Saint Augustine, brought to Cascia.
The chapel dedicated to Santa Rita, protected by a large wrought iron gate, preserves the body of the saint, while in the chapel of consolation, under the altar, there is the body of Blessed Simone Fidati.
The modern lower basilica, inaugurated in 1988, has a Greek cross plan, underneath it stood an ancient crypt.
In the Monastery of Santa Rita, which is located to the left of the Basilica, there are records of the life of the Saint and the cell where she died, inside which there is the sarcophagus where she was deposed in 1457.