Arcipretale Church of S. Antonino Martire

The first document known to us that attests the foundation of a Christian temple with a community, dates back to 870, when a church dedicated to Santa Maria was located in Trenta (now in open country).

In about 1100 the church was refounded towards the new city center further south, near the castle. It was then rebuilt on the occasion of the visit of the Duke of Anjou in 1500. The constant danger of the Po forced the citizens to rebuild the building one last time, seizing the opportunity, as it was used at the time, to demonstrate the power reached by the country; this is the same construction that we can still admire today, having fortunately undergone only some rearrangement or improvement, without changing the original idea.

The construction dates back to 1763, and was designed by the Ferrarese architect Gaetano Barbieri, the works lasted about ten years until 1772, but remained unfinished in the facade, which remained for over a century with exposed brick that deeply devalued its appearance and importance .
It is imposed on the visitor with its mighty bulk: it is about 30 meters high, over 50 meters long and about 20 meters wide, measures that can give an idea of its grandeur.

The façade in stucco and bricks dates back to 1914, when it was decided to provide the exterior of the building with a façade that could be inserted inside; it has been designed in pure neoclassical style while the interior is baroque. It is tripartite, with pilasters, balustrades and statues of saints.
Entering from the left portal we can immediately appreciate the chapel of the baptistery, with a simple gray marble altar that preserves an ancient image of the "Madonna del Malpello", which took its name from the owners where it was previously located.

 

Fronte della chiesa.
Face of the church.

 

The solemn interior of powerful and monumental forms presents an original central plant with an oval dimension. It is composed of grandiose vaults, plus a minor one in the choir, all supported by pairs of pilasters with Corinthian trabeations and precious elements in strong stucco. In particular, note the central decoration of the vault and the vaults and walls of the Presbytery finely painted. The entire complex represents a rare expression of Roman baroque with neoclassical references, practically unicum in Polesine.

There are numerous works here preserved, which span a period from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. The eleven precious stucco statues stand out from the observer's eye, almost seeming to dominate the church and the visitors, artifacts recently restored and attributable to the hand of Alessandro Turchi, a Ferrara sculptor author of similar statues in the Cathedral of Ferrara.

The only wide nave is flanked by four vast chapels, with rich marble altars, two of them of very fine workmanship. In the two chapels near the entrance two altars of 1883 face each other, almost identical in shape, but not for the materials used, they are two valuable neoclassical works that house on the left a statue of St. Anthony of Padua and on the right that of St. Luigi Gonzaga. The other two altars date back to the seventeenth century, coming from a church in Ferrara. Both works are made of numerous qualities of polychrome marbles, finely composed and decorated. On the left is the venerated statue of the Madonna with the Child Jesus, while on the right you can admire the greatest work of the Ficarolese artist Alberto Mucchiatti: a large Crucifixion, original in terms of composition, being composed of a large painted canvas on which it is inserted a much older ancient wooden crucifix.

In the presbytery, collected by a marble balustrade, it is worth noting the eighteenth-century high altar embellished with mosaics and the two wooden lateral loggias, surmounted by an imposing organ and the other by a choir. Superb the crown hanging above the altar, made of painted and gilded wood and stucco. Important the carved wooden choir housed in the apsidal basin.

Also in the apse is the seventeenth-century painting by the Ficarolese painter Ercole Sarti, of considerable size (290 x 180 cm) and depicting "Sant'Antonino and San Carlo Borromeo".

 

Navata centrale.
Central nave.

 

Attached to the church is the Sala dei Confratelli, which houses a small and refined picture gallery. In this room stands another great work by Sarti: Madonna del Rosario and Saints Rocco and Sebastiano, painted for the end of the plague epidemic in 1631. A complex work in the background where you can see a panorama of the Ficarolo era, with the clear emergence of the towers of Villa Giglioli. Soave the eighteenth-century oval canvas depicting Saint Lucia painted by an anonymous artist from Ferrara.

Other precious paintings are preserved in the sacristy, such as the "Madonna with Child and Saint Anthony" already present in 1740, a painting in which it is possible to see another eighteenth-century glimpse of Ficarolo, with the castle surmounted by a fig tree.

Source: Municipality of Ficarolo site

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