The Minor Basilica of St. Peregrine Laziosi
The Sanctuary of Saint Pellegrino is now located in the historical city centre of Forlì. The portal of the façade comes from a previously-existing church dating back to the 13th Century, which was dedicated to Saint Agnes and which is situated outside the city walls in the so-called quarter of Campostrino. Vista della navata centraleThe Baroque Sanctuary is large and bright. It comprises a nave and two aisles with ten lateral altars looking towards the apse. The gorgeous high altar – with its polychrome marbles – and the artistic choir – with its 27 finely inlaid stalls and dossal in nut-wood – is situated at the centre of the presbytery: it is a unique piece of gothic work all over the area of Romagna. Our Lady of Sorrows niche rises at the centre of the apse and it houses a statue by the sculptor Angelo Piò from Bologna (1690-1770) and seven paintings on canvas illustrating the suffering of Virgin Mary by the painter Paolo Cignani (1609-1664). The half-rotten body of Saint Pellegrino, which was buried up until 1639 in the first chapel on the left, has been preserved in the Sanctuary since 1345. When Pellegrino Laziosi was beatified by Pope Paul V in 1609, the friars’ community and the vestry board were prompted to build a Chapel in honour of the Saint. The Chapel was built by expanding the church perimeter up to the third right-hand arch. This new protruding part of the Sanctuary with its cupola frescoed by the brothers Francesco and Felice Bondi turned out to be large and well-lit. The fresco represents Saint Pellegrino being brought to Heaven by angels and welcomed by Virgin Mary.
Vista della Cappella di San Pellegrino The canonization of Saint Pellegrino by Pope Benedict XIII in 1726 fostered a further extension of the chapel. A new apse was built on the basis of the drawings of the Blak Friar Fra Giuseppe Merenda. Between 1740 and 1742 the Sanctuary was further exhanced thanks to the donations of Giorgio Viviani Marchesi Bonaccorisi, a patrician of the town, who later become priest. Marchesi entrusted the building of the altar, of the marble sarcophagus for the Saint’s relics and of the six angels surrounding it to the brothers Ottaviano and Nicola Toselli from Bologna. Domenico Taschini from Ravenna was then entrusted with the marble linings of the entire chapel. Monsignor Marchesi had his grave built at the centre of the chapel and he was then buried here upon his death in 1757. The picture representing Jesus crucified healing the Saint’s sore leg hangs above the crystal urn, where the relics of Saint Pellegrino wearing the vest of the Order of Friar Servants of Mary rest. It is common opinion that the painting on canvas was painted by the artist Giovanni Pretelli from Forlì, nicknamed ‘Giovannone’ or ‘Giannone’, who died in 1648. However, he supposedly painted the canvas on the basis of a drawing of his master, Simone Cantarini from Pesaro, nicknamed ‘Pesarino’ (1612-1648). The the Fourteenth-century Room , which the oldest part of the friary, can be accessed from the Sanctuary. Here is preserved the Fresco of the Crucified, in front of which Pellegrino asked for and obtained the instantaneous healing from the leg gangrene. As to the authorship of this work of art in clear Giotto style, experts believe that it must rest with a painter from the city of Rimini, possibly Franscesco or Giuliano, who were operating in Rimini in the 14th C. Inside the Sanctuary visitors can admire the Monument to Luffo Numai, along with the brilliant sculptures representing Christ’s Nativity and Resurrection, sculpted by Giovanni Ricci (part decorated with figures) and Tommaso Fiamberti (ornamental part). The Annunciation picture by Marco Palmezzano (1456/1459-1539) and the Sacred Family by Francesco Menzocchi (1502-1574) were removed from the Sanctuary after the Italian government repealed Religious Orders in 1866: They can be now admired in the Town Hall picture gallery of Forlì. The Glory of Saint Pellegrino picture by Francesco Trevisani (1746) can be admired in the Vestry