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Rocca S. Maria

Last update 23/09/2014 (ref.130000481)
by the local editorial office of SERRAMAZZONI
Piazza T.Tasso n. 7 - 41028 Serramazzoni (MO)
Tel. 0536 952202 oppure 0536 952199 int 230 - Fax 0536/954665

Standing at top of an outcrop of chalky rock, the Rocca S Maria, one of the oldest and most beautiful parish churches of the Modenese mountains, dominates the plain below. This church, built in the form of a basilica from the local sandstone, has three naves, divided by wide, imposing arches that rest on four columns and four low, round half-columns. The intricately carved capitals are of different shapes and styles. Based mainly on the decoration of these capitals, as well as the structure of the building itself, art historians agree that the church was built between the eighth and the first half of the ninth centuries.
Outside the church, near the old fortress, there is a bell with the coat of arms of the Da Savignano family and the date 1370. It was donated to the community of Rocca S Maria by Ugolino da Savignano, Lord of the area and of the Podesteria of Monfestino.
Rocca S Maria, once known as Castel Catoniano, was, in 1038, following an exchange, ceded by the Bishop of Modena Viberto to Marquis Bonifacio III of Tuscany, father of Matilde di Canossa. The countess in turn donated it, along with all the lands and the church, to the Bishop of Modena, Dodone. In the same year, in her castle in Montebaranzone, Matilde di Canossa passed a decree in favour of the people of Rocca S Maria, who, for generations, had been obliged to offer their assistance to the ministers of Gombola when they passed through the area.