Marian itinerary around Rimini, Valconca and Valmarecchia
A spiritual journey of profound intensity among the places of Marian devotion, age-old in the Rimini area and always of great importance as is quite well demonstrated by the dedications of the parish churches, at least a quarter of which are dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Important buildings dedicated to the Madonna arise both in inhabited centers and in isolated areas among fields and mountains. Here is an itinerary through some of these places, permeated with faith, tradition and great religiosity.
Our route starts from the town of Gemmano; on the hill, on the right bank of the Conca, we find the sanctuary of the Madonna di Carbognano, built around the year 1260 when a group of Franciscan friars built a small convent consecrated to St. Francis on the remains of the ancient Roman temple. In the year 1500, the church was then consecrated to Our Lady, whose popularity increased considerably over the years, hosting thousands of pilgrims driven by prayer and the graces received.
Remaining in the valley of the Conca River, but moving a bit further towards the hinterland of Rimini, we come across the most famous and most popular Marian sanctuary, that of the Madonna of Bonora in Montefiore. It arose around an image of the Madonna nursing her Child, painted by a hermit in a small chapel that he had built in the woods. This image still retains the archaic fourteenth-century atmosphere and dominates the church from the main altar, recollecting centuries of devotion and prayer, which bring up to 500,000 faithful people here each year. In 1833 there was also a sensational event that increased the fame of this place: a girl who was seriously ill, who everyone was certain would soon die, decided to go to pray in front of the image of the Madonna. She dragged herself there, she prayed hard and returned home completely healed. The Curia of Rimini carried out a regular canonical procedure and this was the first historically ascertained miracle.
A few kilometers further on and we reach Trebbio di Montegridolfo to visit the sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin of the Graces, whose altar is adorned with a beautiful altarpiece depicting the miraculous apparition of the Madonna, painted, on the basis of the eyewitnesses themselves, in the year 1459.
In Montefeltro, the most famous Marian image is that of Pennabilli, who was seen crying on the third Friday of March 1489. This is the image of the Madonna venerated with the title of Madonna of the Graces, painted around 1432 in the Augustinian church, dedicated to St. Christopher and dating back to the 11th century.
Also in Montefeltro, in Maciano, another apparition occurred in the church of Our Lady of the Olive Tree. The building is a monument of extraordinary artistic interest as the structure is linked to a series of beautiful architectural styles that show the spreading of the harmonious forms of Urbino Renaissance throughout the area around Montefeltro.
Moving on to Rimini, the church of the Colonnella is undoubtedly worth a visit, a charming building completed in 1514 to honor a miraculous Marian image, a fresco of the Madonna holding her Child, still perfectly preserved today. The temple is called della Colonnella for the Roman milestone, that is, for the sacred image painted on a pillar or part of a small column.
Returning to Montefeltro we come to the end of our itinerary in Talamello. Before reaching the town cemetery, there is a small chapel which is a splendid example of late Gothic art. It dates back to 1437 and is entirely covered with frescoes. It is a country chapel commissioned by a Franciscan, the Bishop of Montefeltro Giovanni Seclani, who is depicted kneeling at the feet of the Virgin with the Child, among many images of saints and under scenes that represent biblical images. The chapel was once preceded by a four-sided portico open to accommodate travelers and pilgrims, many of whom have engraved their names on the painted plasters with the date of their passage and sometimes their origin or destination, leaving precious elements that help us understand who visited the place.