Tempio dell incoronata
Towards the end of the 15th century a brothel with a facade painted with an image of the Virgin Mary was located in the district de' Lomellini – known today as via Incoronata. According to popular belief, in September of 1487 during a fight, the effigy of the Virgin Mary wept and called on those present to build a temple dedicated to her on that site, the Tempio della Incoronata, or Temple of the Crowned.
In honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary the Crowned and on the site where her mural image is worshipped, the citizens of Lodi decided to erect the Temple of the City, with the contribution of all social classes.
Therefore, it was given the name "Civic Temple" Sanctuary, (since it fulfilled the desire of its citizens) and actually went on to become one of the most beautiful buildings of Renaissance Lombardy.
To reach the Temple, walk through the historical centre, pass Piazza della Vittoria and follow via Incoronata. Only two sides of the octagonal base of the building can be seen outside the temple, along with a three-arch portico from the late 15th century and the loggia added in 1882.
Built beginning in 1488 by Giovanni Battagio, a pupil of Bramante, construction was concluded in 1503 under the direction of Lorenzo Maggi. Although the Romanesque Cathedral was already located in the centre of the city, the people of Lodi wanted to build a monument dedicated to the veneration of the mural image of the Virgin.
The church, which opened for worship in 1494, is located on rather narrow street, which prevented the creation of a beautiful triumphal entry. The temple can be accessed from a small portico with two small doors that, through a dark corridor, lead to the marvellous church. The fully painted and decorated interior, in addition to housing the works of famous artists from the late 1400s such as Ambrogio da Fossano known as Bergognone, is a sort of museum about the work of the Piazza family. From about 1515 and for nearly fifty years, three generations of artists from the Piazza family embellished the temple, while founding the most prestigious painting school in Lodi.
In the underground spaces below the monumental sacristy of the Incoronata Temple is the Museum of the Incoronata Treasure. The museum consists of three different-sized rooms where the works on display are considered both rare and unique. In addition to meeting the requirements of a museum of sacred art, the collection of objects tied to the religious functions attest to the importance of this sanctuary.
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