The Sanctuary of Santa Maria Assunta

Bianzano | Luoghi religiosi

‘Il Signorù’ and a story of sacrilege

Vast, disconcerting and not in the least reassuring: this statue is most unlike what one might expect of a statue representing Christ. It is ‘Il Signorù’, an imposing sculpture over two metres high, which has terrorized generations of children from the valley. At one point it was buried underground, then exhumed, and today is the emblem of the Sanctuary of Bianzano, from where every year it is carried in a procession to the church of San Rocco. This is not the church’s only mysterious feature, however…

 

The great statue is called ‘Il Signorù’ and is a figure representing Jesus, dating from the beginning of the 20th century and sculpted from a single piece of wood. It can be found in a niche of the church of Santa Maria Assunta, which was built in 1234. According to legend, the statue of Christ – which at the time had arms spread wide – frightened the faithful so much during its incumbency that it was decided to detach the arms and bury the statue.

This gesture, as strange as it was sacrilegious, generated a chain of disasters and natural calamities that fell upon the local area according to its inhabitants. In order to interrupt the chain of tragedies, the “body’’ was exhumed and its arms re-attached. This time, they were placed straight along its sides and not opened wide. Nowadays there is total devotion to the statue and each year Il Signorù is carried in procession throughout the town.
The church, on the other hand, is a building that, according to unconfirmed reports, may have been frequented by the Templars, whose tracks seem to lead to various different points in the area. Included in these is the castle that rises above a terrace overhanging the valley and lake, not far from the centre of Bianzano.

There is a stone, perhaps once used as a tombstone, which offers us information about the ancient name of the town. This is found in the church of the Assunta, and has the word “Bienciano”, from which the town’s current name evolved, engraved upon it. There are other graves encircling the church, one of which has a very rare circular shape. These are evidence of the church’s change in use. It was originally a parish church and then became a cemetery church, following the construction of the nearby church of San Rocco. Do not miss the altar inside the church of Santa Maria Assunta, which is the work of the famous Bergamasche family of carvers and sculptors, the Fantoni. You can look at it up close, as long as you are courageous enough to walk past the statue of Il Signorù!

 

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OF PARTICULAR INTEREST:
– the great wooden statue of the Deposition of Christ known as “Signorù”
– the splendid wooden ciborium by Andrea Fantoni (18th century)

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VISITING…
The Sanctuary opens to the public only on request in advance and according to the programme of openings displayed at the Town Hall of Bianzano.
It is possible to pre-book group visits for at least 10 people on dates other than those advertised.
Duration of the visit: around 20 minutes
Parking: Yes

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Promotional material provided by the cultural and tourist association Associazione culturale e turistica Pro Bianzano.

 

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