Province of Perugia - Tourist Information I.A.T- Tel 0743-71401, Tourist Assistance: Pro Cascia Piazza Garibaldi - Tel 0743-71401
Population: 3,200 (Casciani); surface sq km: 181.10, height above sea level: 653 m, distance from Perugia: Km 106; Tel. Dial/Area Code 0743; Zip/Postal Code 06043; Train Station (FS Spoleto) to 48 km; A1 Motorway/Highway (exit at Orte or Val di Chiana) 4 A1 Motorway/Highway (exit Ancona and Civitanova Marche or S. Benedetto del Tronto).
Hamlets: Atri, Avendita, Buda, Castel S. Giovanni, Castel S. Maria, Cerasola, Chiavano, Civita, Colforcella, Collegiacone, Colmotino, Coronella, Fogliano, Logna, Maltignano, Ocosce, Onelli, Opagna, Poggio Primocaso, Roccaporena, San Giorgio, Santa Anatolia, Trognano, Villa S. Silvestro, S. Trinità, Fustagna, Piandoli, Giappiedi, Capanne di Collegiacone, Sciedi, Valdonica, Capanne di Roccaporena, Tazzo, Manigi, Serviglio, Colle S. Stefano, Puro, Palmaiolo.
Cascia sits on the hill of St. Augustine (skimmed by the winding stream of the river Corno) surrounded by the green mountains on a strip of the Apennine Mountains) to the south of the Sibillini Mountains. The city of Cascia along with Assisi, (San Francesco), is known throughout the world as the place which is the birthplace of St. Rita of Cascia. An ancient center established by the Italic people of ancient Italy of the VI-V century B.C., who were known to be similar to the Umbrians, Etruscans, Romans and Sabines. The most important evidence of this pre-Roman period is the magnificent temple of Villa San Silvestro of 290 B.C., found in the hamlet of Pian di Chiavano and then, from the Roman period, numerous archaeological finds came to light, even some recently, and demonstrate how Cascia and its territory were a significant center at that time. Moreover, Vespasian Polla, mother of Emperor Vespasian, was originally from this area. In 63 B.C., Cascia was destroyed, and was then rebuilt, after the fall of the Roman Empire. It suffered looting and destruction by the barbarian hordes: first the Goths of Totila, then the Lombards and again destroyed by the Saracens in the ninth century. It became an independent town in the twelfth century. Cascia has had its ups and downs as a result of the feuding against neighboring cities and the feuds between Guelphs and Ghibellines that heated much of the region of Umbria. In 1381 Margherita Lotti was born in Roccaporena,, which will be known worldwide as S. Rita of Cascia. At fifteen she married a young man of Cascia, Paul Ferdinand, a crude man who was swept away by the cruel political feuds of the Middle Ages and who paid with his life and his desire to redeem himself. The two children of the marriage, vowed revenge and Rita, already distressed by the death of her husband, pleaded with the Lord to give death to the children rather than see them stained with a crime. Left alone, grief-stricken, she retired to the convent of the Augustinians of Cascia where, after nearly forty years, she died on May 22, 1457. She spent the remaining period of her life meditating and praying, offering herself to God and making a series of miracles, which revealed her holiness. Continuing with the history of the events that involved Cascia and its territory, we must remember in the second half of the fifteenth century the fortress of Cascia (La Rocca) was constructed on the hill by Pope Paul II, with the aim of being able to control, from a military point of view, the town. In the first half of the sixteenth century, The fortress was repeatedly subjected to the attacks of the followers of the Colonna who tried in vain to seize it and was dismantled in 1517 by order of Pope Leo X. In 1527, the city was ransacked by the troops of Sciarra Colonna and a new war with Spoleto caused death and destruction throughout the territory of Cascia. Located on the border with the Kingdom of Naples, Cascia, the cornerstone of the Papal States, followed the historic events of that time until 1860, when it was annexed to the Italian State.
WHAT TO SEE
The city viewed from a distance, from the eyes of the visitor, as a classic castle sitting on a slope, typical of settlements that arise in the Umbria-Sabina zone. Although the significant urban development was in the valley, the numerous buildings, built to beautifully accommodate the thousands of tourists who come here every year from all over the world, have altered part of the original structure of the city. The city tour can start from Piazza Garibaldi (where there is also the tourist information office) where the church of S. Francis is located. The building, in the Gothic style, was built in 1424 by Bishop Antonio Alms on the ruins of an existing church and monastery of the thirteenth century. The facade has a beautiful portal topped by a lunette with a fifteenth-century fresco and an elegant rose window. The interior shaped like a Latin cross, exhibit adornments and stuccos from the eighteenth century, a fourteenth-century choir stall and numerous paintings including: “The 'Ascension", a work from 1596 by Niccolò Circignani, known as Pomarancio, "Trinity and Worship of the Shepherds", and “St. Benedict ", a work of art form the fifteenth century by Bartolomeo di Tommaso from Foligno, and frescos of the fifteenth century stemming from the Umbrian and Siena school of thought. Coming out of the East Gate you arrive at the church of S. Antonio Abate the former adjoining Benedictine monastery. The church, rebuilt in the fourteenth and fifteenth century, contains important and valuable frescos in the sanctuary a sequence of "Stories of the Saint", from the beginning of the fifteenth century, attributed to the Maestro delle Dormition an Umbrian painter. In the former monastery, a sequence of “Scenes of the Passion" of 1461, by Nicola da Siena is housed. Continuing and returning from Port Leonine, in Via XX Settembre, we find the Collegiate Church of St. Mary. Built between IV-VI century, it was repeatedly restored, and still shows traces of the original Romanesque structure in the north. The facade is characterized by a gable and two portals, one from 1535 and another from 1621. The interior, in sixteenth century style, contains valuable works: the first pillar of the left aisle, frescos of the fourteenth century, including "Deposition" of 1462 by Nicola da Siena, in the left aisle a board with wooden frame and the painting "Step Tools" known as "Peace" in 1547, the work of Camillo and Gaspare Angelucci and other works, including a painting of "the Mysteries of the Rosary" by Nicholas Frangipani. Continuing along Via Santa Chiara we arrive to that which is the main destination of thousands of pilgrims from all over the world: the Sanctuary of Santa Rita. Here the faithful come with the hope of finding solace to the anxieties and stresses of everyday life and it is in this belief, and not the disillusionment, that is the great miracle of miracle-working Rita. The need to accommodate the ever increasing mass of pilgrims, who come to pay homage to the remains of the Holy (canonized by Pope Leo XIII on May 26, 1900) resulted in the constructing a new Sanctuary in 1936 alongside the original church and convent. Designed by Monsignor Spirit Mary Chiapetta, reworked by Martinenghi and Calori, it was completed in 1940 and opened for worship in 1948 and established as a Basilica by Pope Pius XII in 1955. Mother Teresa Fasce promoted the construction of the new Sanctuary (she was recently proclaimed Blessed). Mother Superior for many years at the adjacent convent, tradition says, during her life she was in continuous and close contact with Santa Rita. The facade of the Sanctuary is characterized by a coating of travertine, two slender twin bell towers and some bas-relief on the sides of the portal, by E. Pellini, depicting the "Facts of Life of St. Rita." The interior has by Luigi Montanarini depicting the "Holy Spirit and The Gloria of Saints Augustine"; at the entrance, frescs by Silvio Consadori, on the left the Chapel of Santa Rita (where her Holy Body is kept in a glass urn), frescos by Ferruccio Ferrazzi, and F.Taragni ("Augustinian Saints"), paintings by GB Galician ("Episodes from the life of Saint Rita"), to the right of the Assumption Chapel frescos by Gisberto Ceracchini (the "Assumption") and in the Chapel of the Sacrament, frescos by Louis Filocamo depicting "The Last Supper". All these works were created between 1950 and 1956, while the high altar presents a series of sculptures by Giacomo Manzu placed in 1981 on the occasion of the celebration of the sixth centenary of the birth of Santa Rita. Still inside the stations of the "Via Crucis", made of marble, are the works of E. Pellini. Along the entire perimeter of the building there is a gallery reserved for Augustinian nuns. In the Lower Basilica of 1988, in a very modern setting, is the guarded tomb of Mother Teresa Fasce and the remnants of the Sacred Relic of the "Corpus Christi" of Blessed Augustine Simone Fidati (1285-1348). The relic is a wafer, still steeped in blood, that the Blessed Simon brought here. This was given to him by a skeptic Sienese priest who, having to bring the Eucharist to the sick, badly kept the Eucharist in his prayer book and when he opened it the particle was found dripping in blood. Adjacent to the Basilica of Santa Rita, there is the Monastery of St. Rita, from the twelfth century. Originally belonging to the Benedictine nuns, from the first half of the fourteenth century, passed to the Augustinians. In this place are concentrated memories of the Holy: The Courtyard of the 1400’s contains the "miracle vine", arid piece of wood lovingly tended by Rita, the oratory, where the Saint, gathered in prayer in front of the fresco of the Crucifixion in 1432, where she received from the crown of thorn a stigmatic wound that brought her pain for the rest of her life, and the cell where the saint lived and died and which houses the wooden coffin that housed the body at her death, her wedding ring and the Corona del Rosario . On the top of the hill is the church of St. Augustine was built in 1059 by Pope Nicholas II The Gothic facade from 1380, has a Gothic portal topped by a lunette with a 1390 fresco of the Umbrian school or Camerino school . The interior preserves a painting from 1609 by Virgilio Nucci, frescos of the Umbrian school, and in the crypt below, a fourteenth-century fresco from the school of Umbria-Marche.
WHAT TO SEE NEARBY
Roccaporena is the birthplace of St. Rita. You can get there after leaving Cascia, about six kilometers in the enchanting mountain landscape (dotted with watchtowers) in what is referred to as the territory Casciano. At Roccaporena the house where Santa Rita was born and the church of San Montano where the Saint was married are worth a visit. In the Garden of Miracle, where on a cold winter’s day in 1457 (a few days before the death of the Saint) bloomed a rose and a fig ripened. A divine homage to a woman starting to walk towards holiness. Worthy also viewing The Lazaretto, where there are works in favor of the suffering, the of the Stations of the Cross and finally the Rock of Prayer, where the Saint retired to pray in solitude, and in a dominant position in Roccaporena and which can be reached on foot after about twenty minutes of trail, all uphill. Also in Roccaporena is the modern Sanctuary and annexed facilities of the '"Opera St. Rita" with the reception center for minors, congress hall and all Cascia sports facilities. Cascia is located in the center of the Valnerina Valley where trails offer opportunities for hiking and where it sits among ancient forests of oak and beech and where still lives: the Apennine wolf, the wildcat, the golden eagle, the dormouse, squirrel, sparrow, etc. Here you can enjoy, in an ideal environment, fishing, hiking, horse riding, gliding and many other sports.
Cascia is famous for the production of sausages, hams, loins, prepared according to centuries-old traditions (the famous Norcineria), for its beef butchering and the famous black truffle (Tuber melanosporum Vitt.). Even handcrafts, which boast centuries-old traditions, are very active in the territory Cascianese. Among the handcrafted products include: wrought iron, copper items and objects in wood. The tourism and trade are connected to it, and the strength of the local economy, sustained not only by the historical, artistic, religious and cultural goods and riches, but also by adequate and complete tourist accommodations.