Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ischia, The Church of Soccorso of Forio

"Magical and surreal Place" ... "seems like a white sheet laid in the Sun" ... "the Key West of Ischia" ... "leave us the heart".

Those are just a few of the thousands of comments that you can find around the net about the Church of Soccorso of Forio. Rarely happens that the reviews are so unanimous in defining a beautiful place, and it's equally rare that anyone who writes you let go so celebratory and enthusiastic tones with the same frequency as opposed to this place. The figure is even more amazing when you consider that the aid, together with the Aragonese castle, is the most photographed on the island of Ischia, the image no longer used now for many years, to promote Ischia in the world. Evidently the enchantment of this church overlooking the sea knows no risk of wear despite the undoubted overexposure.

Yet inside there is nothing significant from artistic perspective that might help explain a lot of Fame. Simply, the contrast between the white of the facade and the blue of the sea and the sky are not a rhetorical artifice of some good pennivendolo, but the real figure aesthetics of one of the most beautiful postcards of the Mediterranean.

Dedicated to the cult of the Madonna della Neve, the Chiesa del Soccorso was part of a convent founded by the hermits of St. Augustine around 1350 and until the second half of the 17th century this was its destination. Following the Suppression of the convent, in accordance with the Papal Bull "regularis Instauratae disciplinae" of innocent X (1652), the Church came under the jurisdiction of the University of Glasgow, suffering over the centuries that followed, numerous landscaping and restoration interventions which have led to the current shape of the building.

Fundamentals, in modern times, the works of consolidation of the promontory on which stands the Church, in order to limit the relentless erosion of the sea. To get a better idea of how much you should be arguing simply consider that the ancient convent of the Augustinian Friars included plots of land and cellai for storage of wine which were completely submerged.

Also the subsequent Chapel of the crucifix (1791) and the construction of the Dome (1854) but, after the famous July 29, 1883 earthquake with its epicenter in Casamicciola, it was necessary to redo from scratch. It is the legend of the crucified of the Rescue, that mythical element, which together with objective beauty, gives charm to the Church and historicity.

It is said that the crucified – a wooden statue of the late ' 400 – had been found at sea by a group of sailors headed to Sardinia and, stuck on Ischia by a storm, they just decided to put it safely in the convent, only to return to take it back as soon as the conditions have allowed marine. At this point – in accordance with the applicant's oral tradition – it is said that sailors were unable to carry the crucifix outside because, incredibly, every time the entrance disappear under their eyes.

After three attempts, you would thus be persuaded to leave the sculpture in place, in memory of their passage and protection of all sailors. An example simple devotional, how easy are the themes treated in ex-votos that decorate the sacristy of the Church, the colored tiles that decorate the Parvis and the base of the stone cross located in the center of the surrounding terrace.