Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin of the Fountain

Water that restores sight, that bestows wonders and graces: to honour “the miracles that the Madonna standing on a pillar began to work” (a fresco of the Virgin nursing the Child Jesus), the Sanctuary of the Fountain was built in the second half of the 15th century, on the site where previously stood a chapel with a much venerated image of the Virgin. Here, according to tradition, in 1320 a miracle took place: a poor man born blind who regained his sight by wetting his eyes with “the water of Virgin”. A first sanctuary was therefore built there replacing the former chapel, which was then enlarged and completed in 1482. The building houses artistic works of considerable importance, and is a destination of incessant religious tourism: the water that flows from the source below is in fact still considered miraculous, and the crypt from which it can be drawn is truly suggestive, enriched by a 15th-century fresco depicting the Virgin covered with a blue mantle adorned with gold flowers, represented with a very sweet and benevolent face. In the chapel known as “Chapel of the French” (because it was painted when Casalmaggiore was subjected to the feudal lord of France) you can admire the largest cycle of frescoes left in the Sanctuary. In the centre is Saint Roch; on the left, a page paying homage to the Madonna of the Rose: maybe it is Joan of Arc, but according to a more recent interpretation the figure could be young Luigi Gonzaga. The fresco was painted by the Pesenti brothers from Sabbioneta, who were active in the mid-16th century.

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