PRESENCE OF RELIGIOUS IN VICO
Part One: The Friars Minor of the Observance
At the end of the fifteenth century, the Franciscan Vicar of Corsica, reporting directly to the General Minister of the Order of Friars Minor, had 17 "places" of Franciscan life and 163 minor brothers of the Observance. Fra Giovanni Parente, Minister General of the Order from 1237 to 1250, has participated, according to tradition, in the establishment of a dozen fraternities, including that of the Selva, located "at the 4th marker, leaving the port named Girolata ", first of the Franciscan foundations in the diocese of Sagone.
I - The convent Saint Francis of Vico. origin
Founded in 1481, it was the 16th Franciscan settlement on the island. Pope Sixtus IV had indeed responded favorably to the request of Lord Giovan Paolo da Leca and the people of his lordship wishing to erect a convent in Vico. The locality Paratella, located 500 m east of the hamlet of Nesa, on a nipple culminating at 410 m of altitude, was judged most suitable by the consulted parts: the lord, the representatives of the communities of the pieve of Vico, Fra Guglielmo Bolano of Speloncato, at the head of the Franciscan vicarage of Corsica as well as four brothers, come probably from the convent of the Selva to estimate the qualities of the place.
On June 21, 1481, Gratianus, notary at Vico, went on the spot for the official signing of the act of donation of the lands appraised and evaluated by seven sages of the province of Vico to 325 ecus. As a result, "the place called Paratella was given to the blessed Saint Francis and the venerable brothers to erect a convent ..."
To the acquisition of land, was added the donation "by the express will and with the full consent of the inhabitants of Nesa" the waters of the fountain "A life force" for the specific needs of religious and the watering of their garden. The act further stated: "That no one whatever his rank, his condition, his condition, arrogates the right to cut trees, whatever the essence, without the express permission of the present and future brothers, owners of these goods ".
I - 1 Giovan Paolo da Leca: high-risk founder-protector
It has often been said that Giovan Paolo personally endowed the convent brothers with land estimated at 200 crowns. This does not appear in the act of 1481. It is possible that these 200 crowns constituted the personal contribution of the Lord over the 325 crowns paid for the purchase of the lands.
During the foundation, Giovan Paolo was at the height of his glory. He was a rich man, powerful, influential, fulfilled. His capital was valued at more than 100,000 pounds; his herd was 3,000 head; his annual income was over £ 3,000. It owned the castle of Cinarca overlooking the Gulf of the same name, the castle of the same name Leca also called "u Castaldu", near Arbori and located about ten kilometers from Paratella, and the fort of "Rocche di Sia", above Porto.
If Giovan Paolo treated the convent and frati with munificence, he could only do so during the five years following the foundation. Indeed, from 1486, the political worries and the military reverses will persecute on the lord at war against the Office of Saint-Georges. From the beginning of hostilities, the lord had hid in the garden of the convent many pieces of silverware (18 cups, 3 ladles, a cup, 2 "corona", 12 spoons, according to the testament of the lord dated 1487) and than 2,000 ducats, according to chronicler Monteggiani. Only two religious had been confided. Their frequent visits, supposed to meet the spiritual needs of the besieged, aroused the suspicions of the commissioners of the Genoese troops. The two brothers arrested, put to the question, made confessions. Two thousand pounds sterling silver and 1,200 liras in cash were seized. Besieged, vanquished, Giovan Paolo negotiated his surrender, including the prerequisite for the full restitution of his treasure seized at the convent. The future of those who were partisan or protected from the Lord will for a long time be compromised. During the summer of 1489, the population of Sorru in Su will be hunted, the country devastated, ruined, the village of Arbori, halfway between the castaldu and the convent, will be burnt and then leveled.
Deprived of the benefit of the quests, the monks had to experience long, difficult hours and seek their survival in gardening, arboriculture and animal husbandry.
I - 2 The Franciscan Convent (1481-1626)
Until the sixteenth century the Franciscan settlements of Corsica escaped any specific architectural party. They were simple "places of life" gathering around an oratory small buildings, identical to those of the most humble inhabitants of the region.
In Paratella, three or four "huts" or small houses were enough to shelter during winter 1481-1482 a guardian father and two non-priests brothers. These humble dwellings, with their granite rubble stone walls, clay floors, and roofs covered with chestnut shingles, were near a small chapel dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua, the most popular. in Corsica, disciples of St. Francis of Assisi.In the course of the sixteenth century, the religious community grew. New constructions were erected to meet his needs, a modest church dedicated to St. Francis erected to replace the chapel Saint Anthony of Padua, in ruins. In 1589, this building, with a well-built roof and a dirt floor, was still in a state of extreme destitution. The Friars Minor of the Observance had regular contact with the population outside the convent. They were at the service of the people, participated in its edification by their apostolic zeal, their dedication and the witness of their religious life, as attested by a petition addressed to the Pope on August 24, 1603.
I - 3 The new Italian convent (1627-1785) As their radiance grew, the buildings, "a real mirror of poverty," remained in a state of great dilapidation. Their renewal was necessary. In 1627, a new convent, architecturally structured, adapted to a life of community, was started, the inhabitants of the neighboring localities bringing their help to this project by subscriptions and days of work offered. It gave rise to two main campaigns. From 1627 to 1710, the church was remodeled and embellished. A wing adjoining the church, comprising, on the ground floor, a cellar, a kitchen, the refectory and amenities and, on the floor, the cells of the religious and the heater, was built. She communicated with the choir, at the back of the high altar, thus facilitating her direct access to the religious for the recitation of their services. From 1710 to 1785, with the transformation of the convent into a "studium" or formation house, this ensemble was completed by the elevation of a new north-south wing. The conventual buildings, accommodating about twenty people, defined a U-shaped plan with the church, itself the object of new beautification work. Because of the misdeeds of time and the revolutionary turmoil, only certain works adorning the church during the aforementioned period have come down to us: a large Christ in cross in polychrome painted wood, called "U Franciscone", under the late international Gothic, the tabernacle of the high altar, in marble marquetry, dated 1698, a statue of St. Anthony of Padua with the Child Jesus, in polychrome painted wood, from the second half of the seventeenth century, a carved wooden chaser and molded, dated 1664.Ont among others disappeared a pulpit to preach and a choir organ executed in 1773 by the Genova organbuilder Giovanna Battista Ciurlino.
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