The birthplace of St Maria Goretti, Corinaldo is a spiritual land: its Sanctuary and no less than ten religious buildings within or near the historical town centre are proof of the town’s ancient link with the Church, and attract pilgrims from all over the world.
10 Church of the Madonna del Piano
This is the most ancient church in the diocese of Senigallia: the apse and the remains of the crypt place the building between the 5th and 6th centuries, but the location’s previous name “Santa Maria in Portuno” testifies to the existence in that location of a pagan temple dedicated to the cult of the God Portunes. In the Early Middle Ages, it was undoubtedly the most important sacred place in the Corinaldo area. The apse preserves a Magdalene at the feet of the Cross, an extremely intense expressive work by Claudio Ridolfi. The rooms near the sacristy host a museum that documents the archaeological history of the site.
11 Collegiate of St Francis
The headquarters of the parish, this church, with its incomplete facade, has a Latin cross layout with a single nave featuring side chapels, and a transept topped by a dome and an apse. Built in 1281 and renovated many times over the centuries, it preserves three paintings by Claudio Ridolfi. The third side chapel on the right contains a precious wooden Crucifix made in 1575 by the sculptor Donnino from Urbino. The collegiate contains stands the baptism font used to baptise St Maria Goretti on 17 October 1890.
12 Diocesan Sanctuary of Santa Maria Goretti
The Sanctuary is located at the top of the historical town centre, which can easily be identified by its bell tower, which towers over the rooftops. The mortal remains of Maria’s mother, Assunta, who died in Corinaldo in 1954, are located to the left of the entrance and those of Alessandro Serenelli are preserved on the right. In the central altar, made of white Carrara marble, near a wooden sculpture of St Maria Goretti is a silver urn containing the bone of the arm with which the Martyr attempted to defend herself from her aggressor.
13 Church of the Suffrage
In Piazza del Cassero, where the rock of Corinaldo stood in ancient times, we now find the Church of the Suffrage, built in the year 1600. Inside it contains a large altarpiece by Claudio Ridolfi. The domed vault with lacunars preserves an interesting floor in cotto decorated with geometric shapes similar to those on the coffered ceiling.
14 Church of Our Lady of Sorrows
The Church of Our Lady of Sorrows and the adjoining former convent of the Benedictine nuns were erected in the second half of the 16th century. Today the church has a central layout with a dome and lantern and is decorated with a rich, elegant rococo with three altars and four wooden doors topped by canvases depicting Benedictine saints. The larger altar contains the statue of the dead Christ and our Lady of Sorrows, which are taken out in the procession which takes place in the streets of the city on the evening of Good Friday. A valuable organ, created by Gaetano Antonio Callido in 1766, is located in the wooden choir above the entrance door.
15 St Peter’s Bell Tower
40 Cedar of Lebanon
In Piazza San Pietro, St Peter’s Bell Tower stands tall, the only relic of the church of St Peter which was demolished there in 1870 as it was deemed dangerous. A large Cedar of Lebanon stands majestic in its place. Legend has it that it was planted there by an opponent of the clergy, so that it would be impossible to build another religious building on the site.
16 The Church of St. Anna
The Church of St. Anna, patron saint of Corinaldo, was built in the early years of the 16th century by the Order of Hospitallers of the Holy Spirit. The current building dates back to the second half of the 18th century, and preserves a valuable fresco from the end of the 15th century, portraying St Anna holding the Virgin on her knee, who is in turn holding the blessed Child. The work can perhaps be attributed to the brush of Francesco di Gentile from Fabriano, who was active in that area between the end of the 15th and the beginning of the 16th century.
17 Church of the Madonna dell’Incancellata
This is the church where St Maria Goretti went to pray, especially in the month of May, and it is dedicated to the Virgin. Built around a holy aedicule depicting the Virgin feeding the Child, it has always been a popular destination for pilgrims. The building as it stands today dates back to the end of the 1600s.
18 Church of St John the Baptist and convent of the Capuchin Monks
Built at the beginning of the 17th century, over the centuries, it has not undergone any significant changes, but only simple maintenance works. The façade is preceded by a colonnade and the interior has a single nave with two chapels on the left. The larger altar which divides the church from the choir has a striking effect. The set of columns, capitals, trabeations, frames, and elements depicting foliage and shells is of large dimensions and in the centre contains a Baptism of Christ by Ercole Ramazzani.
19 Church of St Mary of Mercy and the rural churches
The small white church of St Mary of Mercy can be found around two kilometres along the road that connects Corinaldo to Castelleone di Suasa, on a ridge that overlooks the valley of the river Cesano. It is a typical rural church; other similar examples can also be found in Madonna del Piano, Sant’Isidoro, San Vincenzo, San Domenico, Santa Apollonia, San Bartolo di Corinaldo, San Bartolo di Monterado and in the Contrada Ville.
St Maria Goretti, the Holy Child
Maria Goretti was born in Corinaldo on16 October 1890, into a family of tenant farmers. She received the sacrament of baptism in the Church of St Francis on 17 October 1890. Extremely devout, each day she walked a considerably long section of road to reach the Church dell’Incancellata, where she went to pray. In 1896, Luigi Goretti, the head of the family, Maria’s mother Assunta and their six children followed the destiny of many other families, and departed towards the Agro Pontino area, in search of a better life. However, the work proved exhausting, also for the women and children, and the family was deprived of any kind of comfort. The Gorettis shared a house with the Serenellis, another family from the Marche region. One hot day in July, in the Ancient Farm of Ferriere di Conca, Marietta was mortally wounded by Alessandro Serenelli who had wanted to take advantage of her innocence. Maria died the following day, forgiving her murderer. It was 6 July 1902. News of this exceptional event travelled all over Italy and abroad. Maria’s mother, Assunta, returns to Corinaldo and years later in a moving meeting, forgave her daughter’s killer. Maria was beatified in St Peter’s on 27 April 1947 and canonised on 24 June 1950 by Pope Pius XII, to the delight of the large crowd present. Her mother Assunta was present at this extraordinary event, the only case in the history of the Church in which a parent witnessed the glorification of his or her child.
Maria’s birth house
The house where Santa Maria Goretti was born is located a short distance away from the historical town centre: it is a small country house, laid out on two floors. On the ground floor, one of the rooms still preserves elements of the primitive cow shed, whereas the spot where the wine cellar was located is now a small chapel dedicated to the Saint.
The upper floor contains the kitchen, with a fireplace in the middle of the room, and the bedroom of Luigi Goretti and Assunta Carlini: this was where “Marietta”, as the family called her, was born on 16 October 1890. This room still contains many of the original furniture that belonged to the Goretti family, including the bed and the painting that was hung above the bed.
Places to visit nearby
1 Loreto – The Sanctuary of the Holy House
2-3 Fonte Avellana (Serra Sant’Abbondio) – The hermitage cited by Dante, at the bottom of Mount Catria