A place of the heart of the Cinque Terre: the 400-year history of the Capuchin convent of Monterosso
The convent of the Capuchins in Monterosso looks to the open sea from the hill of San Cristoforo, between the beach of Fegina and the village that right here finds the origins of its historic core. For the spectacular view and the charm of the structure was ranked first in the seventh national census of “Places of the heart 2014” of the FAI with 110.341 reports, number never equaled by any other place or Italian monument.
These days, this extraordinary place celebrates 400 years of life (1628 – 2018), with a series of initiatives designed to make known the history of the convent and also to finance conservation and restoration projects necessary to maintain it.
On February 20, 1618, the Capuchin Friars symbolically settled by planting a cross on the lands of Castello and Buranco, donated to the order by the Municipality of Monterosso, about 4 years later the convent building with its twelve cells was completed, with the adjacent church of the Immaculate Virgin and St. Francis of Assisi and its churchyard, and surrounded by gardens on different levels where lemons and vineyards were cultivated. From that moment on, the friars became a fundamental part of the community life of the seaside village, in which they participated spiritually and materially.
With alternate fortune, which saw it closed both for the Napoleonic laws of 1816 and for the Savoy laws of 1867, acquired by Pietro Benvenuto di Monterosso who returned it to the friars, and then again lost due to lack of religious in the last decade of the XX century, since 2006 the Convent has returned to its ancient function, so desired by the entire population in Monterosso.
A place of peace, loved by the Nobel price poet Eugenio Montale, and today also open to tourists who want to enjoy a place inspired and beautiful.
Today the structure promotes numerous activities to enhance the local history and the hosted artistic heritage: among all the “Crucifixion” attributed to Antoon Van Dyck, San Girolamo penitent by Luca Cambiaso, the refectory with La Veronica by Strozzi, and the convent itself, which has maintained over time all the architectural features of the 17th century.
From the churchyard one can admire maybe the most evocative and spectacular views of the Cinque Terre, especially at sunset, perhaps the most beautiful time to visit this place.
A plaque on the staircase leading to the convent recalls the frequent passage of the poet Eugenio Montale, who here loved to spend moments of peace and memory
Ho sceso, dandoti il braccio, almeno un milione di scale
e ora che non ci sei è il vuoto ad ogni gradino
I went down, giving you the arm, at least a million stairs
and now that you are not here it is a void at every step
From February 11 the Friars organize various spiritual activities and celebrations for the centenary, which will culminate with the program of February 25:
10:00 am – Piazzale del Convento dei Cappuccini
Inauguration of the commemorative plaque for the 400th anniversary of the foundation.
Descent in procession to the village with a stop at the statue of San Francesco accompanied by the Corpo Bandistico Musicale La Monterossina and the Confraternities.
11:00 am – Parish Church of San Giovanni Battista
Solemn Mass presided over by Fr. Mauro Jöhri – Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. P. Francesco Rossi – Provincial Father of Genoa, p. Renato Brenz Verca – rector of the Convent, the parish priest Don Antonio Carozza and other Capuchin friars. Accompany the Parish Church of San Giovanni Battista. Civil Authorities are present.
From 12.15 am – Main Square
Free community lunch offered by the Convent for the population of Monterosso. With the “Confraternita della potola” of Senago to share a meal with simple foods of the Franciscan tradition.
In the afternoon, animation and music with Friar Alberto and “Quelli di SanBa”.
For lunch it is necessary to register at Enoteca Internazionale, Bar Centrale, Hardware Enzo Vai “Lillo”, Bar Giò Fegina, Herbalisteria Milly.