Texts by Dr. Elisa Cagnazzo, Office of Cultural Heritage Diocese of Crotone - Santa Severina
Translations by students of Linguistic School Gravina of Crotone, class III A and III C
Project “Alternanza Scuola Lavoro” - School Year 2016/2017
Walking through the streets that lead to the very old town, you can see, dominating the square in front and showing all its beauty and majesty, the elegant Church of the Immaculate Conception. Of the original construction, consisting of an oratory dating back to 1500, a beautiful Crypt, which was expertly restored in 1982, still remains today. The steps, the terracotta floor, and the small arches all date back to the sixteenth century and belong to the first site.
In 1686, as attested by an existing marble plaque in the current church, on the old oratory a church was built and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary by a group of lay people who had decided to give birth to a lay congregation in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Souls in Purgatory, which was also called “La Congregazione dei Plebei” (The Congregation of the Plebs).
The facade, which recalls in its features the sober and austere neoclassical style setting, is a harmonious and unifying element. It has a portal with a single architrave, surmounted by a stained glass window, depicting the Virgin, and two niches with statues, all topped by a triangular gable and side pinnacles.
The bell tower, on the back, has a hexagonal shape and an onion dome which reflects the oriental style and perfectly fits with the entire context. The church inside has a single nave, which ends with an apse having at the top a large golden shell which, as a sort of canopy, holds the niche enclosing the image of the Virgin.
The life-size wooden statue is the work of Neapolitan artists of the 18th century. On either side of the Madonna there are two niches that hold the statues of Saint Lucy and Saint Francis from Paola. The oldest and most precious image, in the church, is the large wooden crucifix of the seventeenth century, placed on the right wall.
The peculiarity of this sculpture is that Jesus is not represented already dead; despite the suffering emerging from the rest of the body, his eyes are open and serene. Originally, this crucifix was kept in the chapel of the convent-hospital, which used to be in the building that now houses the House of Culture.