The Santuario della Consolata or is a Marian sanctuary and minor basilica in central Turin. Colloquially, the sanctuary is known as La Consolata.
The Benedictine Order were the first monastic order to settle in this location. A church at the site, probably dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, stood adjacent to the ancient Roman walls of the city. It is held that in the 5th century, Bishop Maximus erected a church dedicated to Saint Andrew with a small chapel to the Virgin with an icon. The icon, however, became the object of great veneration.
Pious legends claim that a blind pilgrim in the 12th century had his vision restored by the icon of the Virgin in the church. Inside the church, ex votos document centuries of miracles attributed to the Virgin. In 929 the Marquis Adalbert ordered the construction of a monastery and endowed it with some territories. The Romanesque bell tower dates to about this time, and was built next to the foundation of one of the corner turrets of the old Roman fort which later became Turin.
The church was originally built in the style of a basilica. Over the years the church and the icon of Our Lady of Consolation were rebuilt respectively restored by various religious orders. In 1448 the prior of Sant'Andrea expanded the church building one bay to the west. With the increased popularity of devotion to Our Lady of Consolation, the church changed from a parish to a shrine.
The first major reconstruction leading to the present church was commissioned in 1678 by Marie Jeanne Baptiste of Savoy-Nemours. Architect Guarino Guarini and engineer Antonio Bertola created the elliptical shape of the church nave, and added a new hexagonal chapel on the north side to accommodate the venerated icon of Mary.
The architect Filippo Juvarra in 1729-1740 added the North presbytery, thus creating a church with two apparent axis: a main altar on the east, while retaining the famed icon as a chapel to the north. This period also saw the decoration of the dome by Giovanni Battista Crosato.
The neoclassical facade, portico, and burial crypt on the south–north axis date from 1845-1860 with contributions by Pietro Anselmetti; further additions were made in 1899-1904 under the guidance of Carlo Ceppi.
The interior has a jubilantly polychrome rococo decoration with colored marbles and solomonic columns. The Juvarra altar has two marble angels in adoration by Carlo Antonio Tantardini. The interior has a sculpture of two praying queens by Vincenzo Vela. Outside the church is a statue of a virgin and child on a column.
The church serves as a burial place for a number of saints affiliated with Turin: Giuseppe Cafasso and Leonardo Murialdo, as well as the Blessed Giuseppe Allamano, rector (1880-1926) and founder of the Mission Institute of the Consolata. Every June 20, a procession of the icon of the Virgin takes place in the streets of the city.
The church is an eclectic collection of architecture, and includes portions of an ancient Roman wall, a Romanesque bell-tower, a baroque set of domes, almost Byzantine, sheltering a gothic icon, with two porticos, one of which has Neoclassic severity. The clashing of Guarini's and Juvarra's often mathematical architecture with the highly decorated interior, stubbornly magnetic to a ritualistic popular piousness, leads to a modern synthesis with immanent overtones.References:
The Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere is one of the oldest churches of Rome. The basic floor plan and wall structure of the church date back to the 340s, and much of the structure to 1140-43. The first sanctuary was built in 221 and 227 by Pope Callixtus I and later completed by Pope Julius I.
The inscription on the episcopal throne states that this is the first church in Rome dedicated to Mary, mother of Jesus, although some claim that privilege belongs to the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. A Christian house-church was founded here about 220 by Pope Saint Callixtus I (217-222) on the site of the Taberna meritoria, a refuge for retired soldiers. The area was made available for Christian use by Emperor Alexander Severus when he settled a dispute between the Christians and tavern-keepers.
The church underwent two restorations in the fifth and eighth centuries and in 1140-43 it was re-erected on its old foundations under Pope Innocent II.