Saint John the Baptist

The church of Saint John the Baptist was built in 1650 by Jacopo Salviati, demolishing the pre-existing one, which was commissioned by Costanza Conti in the middle of the 16th century: the latter was named after his father Giovanni Battista (John Baptist). The church was built in the Baroque period, but the plan and the facade correspond to a sixteenth-century model. The architecture of the facade is composed of a double superimposed order of pilasters, Doric and Ionic, made in an almost imperceptible Baroque style, in the calibrated relationships between the architectural elements, in the construction details but which is particularly evident in the entablature, in the volutes of the upper order, in the niches, in the molding of the tympanum.

Piazza Umberto I

In particular, in the narrowing of the interaxis of the pilasters towards the outside, we can see the attempt to round the main front perhaps to create an optical effect capable of causing a sort of “movement”, typical of contemporary baroque facades, or more simply to facilitate access to the side entrances. The church has a single nave, covered with a barrel vault with a high altar and four side chapels. In plan, the main axes identify a perfectly symmetrical cross, strengthened by the central space created between the chapels, probably used in the past as a side entrance. In the first chapel on the right, it is possible to see the copy of the painting present in the Pontifical Leonian College of Anagni, by the artist G. Palombi, made in 1893. The painting represents the scene of the miracle of the leaves which took place in Giulianello, in 1706, in the Madonnella countryside church (in via Artena) during which the Blessed Antonio Baldinucci invited the population to a penance procession in the church. The Blessed, during the sermon, compared the leaves that fall from the trees to the souls that fall to Hell. He proved the power of God by exclaiming “Enough!”, and the leaves stopped. The church of Saint John the Baptist was completed in 1690 and is located at the end of the village, between the last houses and the surrounding walls of the castle: behind it, in fact, it is possible to see the minor arc of the town. San Giuliano is revered as a patron saint. The feast in his honor was celebrated on February 16 but the date was moved to the last Sunday in April due to bad weather. Legend has it that the saint did not appreciate the change of date and for this reason, even on the last Sunday in April, it usually rains. February 16 remains a day of celebration for the inhabitants of the town, who recall the pagan tradition of lighting “tiles”, adorned with laurel to honor “San Giulianitto”. In the small chapel built in 1927 by Don Silvestro Radicchi, there is a sacred image of the Child Jesus sculpted by a devout Franciscan using the Gethsemane olive wood. It was donated to the Ara Coeli church around 1500, where it was customary to bring it, upon request, to the bedside of a seriously ill person to promote healing. A princess of the Borghese family, probably Camilla Orsini, requested the statue because her cousin, Cardinal Scipione Borghese, was seriously ill. She kept the statuette with her for several days and had a copy sculpted by an artist: the latter was returned to the Capitoline Church. The original statue, in the night, miraculously returned to the convent, arousing the amazement of all and the two statuettes remained in the church at the end of 1798.
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Il Comune di Cori

In that year, after the occupation of the French troops, many churches in Rome were looted. For this reason, the friars of Ara Coeli rescued two statuettes of the child Jesus they guarded; the most precious was given to the religious of the convent of the Friars Minor of Giuliano (between Giulianello and Artena). With the suppression of religious orders in 1808 and the confiscation of their property, the friars had to leave the convent in Giulianello. The image of the Child Jesus was first entrusted to a man named Giacinto Fenili, who gave it to the parish priest only for the Christmas period to be exhibited for the veneration of the people, and between 1859 and 1860 it was donated to the parish church. On the day of the Epiphany, “Baby Jesus” is celebrated in Giulianello. In addition to the procession, the customary kiss is held on the statuette, covered with necklaces, jewels, rings, gifts that devoted people of all times have ever wanted to offer him.

POLIS-È-MIA – codice unico progetto F82JI7000100001 – con D.D. G14038 del 18/10/2017 parte di “Giovani 2017: Aggregazione, prevenzione e supporto”

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