Showing posts with label Osimo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Osimo. Show all posts

17 June 2019

Saint Joseph of Copertino

Flying friar now protects aviators

Painter Ludovico Mazzanti's 18th century  depiction of Saint Joseph levitating
Painter Ludovico Mazzanti's 18th century
depiction of Saint Joseph levitating
Saint Joseph, a Franciscan friar who became famous for his miraculous levitation, was born Giuseppe Maria Desa on this day in 1603 in Copertino, a village in Puglia that was then part of the Kingdom of Naples.

Joseph was canonised in 1767, more than 100 years after his death, by Pope Clement XIII and he is now the patron saint for astronauts and aviation.

Joseph’s father, Felice Desa, had died before his birth leaving large debts. After the family home was seized to settle what was owed, his mother, Francesca Panara, was forced to give birth to him in a stable.

Joseph experienced ecstatic visions as a child at school. When he was scorned by other children he had outbursts of anger.

He was apprenticed to a shoemaker but when he applied to join the Franciscan friars he was rejected because of his lack of education.

He was accepted in 1620 as a lay brother by the Capuchin friars only to be dismissed because his constant ecstasies made him unfit to carry out his required duties.

Forced to return home he pleaded with the Franciscan friars near Copertino to be allowed to work in their stables.  After several years he was admitted to the Order and he was ordained a priest in 1628.

The Basilica of San Giuseppe da Copertino in Piazza Gallo was dedicated to St Joseph
The Basilica of San Giuseppe da Copertino
in Piazza Gallo was dedicated to St Joseph
He began to experience more ecstasies and it was claimed he began to levitate while participating in Mass, remaining suspended in the air for some time. He gained a reputation for holiness among ordinary people but was considered disruptive by the Church authorities, who found that even piercing his flesh or burning him with candles would have no effect on him while he was levitating. He was eventually confined to a small cell and forbidden to join in any public gatherings.

Joseph was denounced to the Inquisition because flying and levitation were then considered to be a type of witchcraft.

On the Inquisition’s orders, he was transferred from one friary to another to be kept under observation. He lived under a strict regime, eating solid food only twice a week.

In 1657 he was at last allowed to return to live in a religious community and was sent to a friary in Osimo in Le Marche, then part of the Papal States, where he died six years later at the age of 60.

Joseph was beatified in 1753 and made a Saint in 1767.

People sceptical about the reports of Saint Joseph’s levitating or seeming to become airborne have suggested he was either a very agile man who leapt into the air or was perhaps suffering convulsions as a result of consuming bread made from infected grain, which was common centuries ago.

Nevertheless, many pilgrims now visit Joseph’s tomb to pay their respects at the Basilica of Saint Joseph of Copertino in Piazza Gallo in Osimo.

Copertino Castle, built in 1540, has tapered ramparts in each of its four corners
Copertino Castle, built in 1540, has tapered ramparts in
each of its four corners 
Travel tip: 

Copertino, where Saint Joseph was born, is a town in the province of Lecce in the Puglia region of south east Italy. Red and rosé DOC wines are made in the area around the town. Copertino Castle, built in 1540 on the site of an older fortress, is one of the biggest fortifications in the entire region. It has a distinctive design, built on a quadrangle plan with a tapered rampart at each of the four corners. There is also a sanctuary dedicated to Saint Joseph in the town.

The main square in Osimo, the town in Le Marche where Saint Joseph died in 1663
The main square in Osimo, the town in Le Marche where
Saint Joseph died in 1663
Travel tip:

One of the main sights in Osimo, where Saint Joseph died, is the Basilica of San Giuseppe da Copertino, which was founded as a church dedicated to Saint Francis but was later rededicated and refurbished to house Saint Joseph’s relics.  There is also a restored Romanesque-Gothic church has a portal with sculptures of the 13th century. A town of more than 35,000 inhabitants, Osimo is located approximately 15km (9 miles) south of the port city of Ancona and the Adriatic Sea.

Also on this day:

1691: The birth of painter Giovanni Paolo Panini

1952: The birth of Sergio Marchionne, businessman 

1964: The birth of racing driver Rinaldo 'Dindo' Capello


9 June 2016

Luigi Fagioli - racing driver

Man from Le Marche is Formula One's oldest winner

Photo of Luigi Fagioli in action
Luigi Fagioli in action in the 1928 Targa Florio
near Palermo in Sicily
Racing driver Luigi Fagioli, who remains the oldest driver to win a Formula One Grand Prix, was born on this day in 1898 at Osimo, an historic hill town in the Marche region.

Fagioli was a highly skilled driver but one who was also renowned for his fiery temperament, frequently clashing with rivals, team-mates and his bosses.

It was typical of his behaviour after recording his historic triumph at the F1 French Grand Prix at Reims in 1951 he announced in high dudgeon that he was quitting Formula One there and then.

He was furious that his Alfa Romeo team had ordered him during the race to hand his car over to Juan Manuel Fangio, the Argentine who would go on win the 1951 World Championship, which meant the victory was shared rather than his outright.

Nonetheless, at 53 years and 22 days, Fagioli's name entered the record books as the oldest F1 Grand Prix winner.

Fagioli trained as an accountant but was always fascinated with the new sport of car racing and his background - he was born into a wealthy family of pasta manufacturers - gave him the financial wherewithal to compete.

Having made his debut in 1926, he achieved his first major victories after signing as a works driver for Maserati in 1930, finishing first in the Coppa Ciano and the Circuito di Avellino.  He then won the Monza GP of 1931 and the Rome GP in 1932.

The bust of Luigi Fagioli in Osimo
In 1933 Fagioli was taken on to race Alfa Romeos for Enzo Ferrari, winning in the Coppa Acerbo and the Italian GP, which in turn earned him a move to Mercedes-Benz.

However, his relationship with team-mates Manfred von Brauchitsch and Rudolf Caracciola was fraught with problems. When team manager Alfred Neubauer ordered Fagioli to move over for Brauchitsch in his very first race, the Italian simply dropped out, abandoning his car in disgust.

Despite winning three races for Alfa Romeo in 1934 and 1935, Fagioli quit to join Auto Union in 1937, becoming embroiled in an altercation with Caracciola during his first season in which he attacked his former colleague with a wheel hammer.

Struggling with rheumatism, which restricted him to the extent that at times he needed the aid of a stick to walk, he did not race again before the Second World War but in 1950, in much better health, he returned to the sport to race for the Alfa Romeo factory team, finishing on the podium in all but one race and finishing third in the inaugural F1 World Championship.

After his controversial exit from Formula One, he signed to drive in sportscar events for Lancia, taking great delight in finishing in front of Caracciola when he was third in the 1952 Mille Miglia.

His aggressive driving style sometimes bordered on the reckless and he had many accidents, one of which forced him out of a supporting race at the Monaco GP meeting in June of that year.

He broke a hand and a leg, which seemed relatively minor injuries, but he developed complications as he recovered in hospital and three weeks later, at the age of only 54, he died.

Photo of Osimo Cathedral
The Cathedral of San Leopardo in Osimo
Travel tip:

The town of Osimo, perched on top of a hill about 15 kilometres from the port of Ancona, can trace its origins to 200BC and parts if the city walls dating back to that time remain intact.  It is dominated by the Cathedral of San Leopardo, the main structure of which was built between the 12th and 13th centuries.

Stay in Osimo with

Travel tip:

Luigi Fagioli is commemorated in a bronze statue which can be found in the Giardini Pubblici in Osimo

More reading:

Vittorio Jano - genius designer behind Italy's Formula One success

(Photo of Luigi Fagioli bust by Giorgio Gentili CC BY-SA 3.0)
(Photo of Catheral by Parsifall CC BY-SA 3.0)