The Temple of Valadier, a refuge for the soul
An elegant octagonal church rises among the pointed and beveled rocks of a gorge between the mountains: it is the Temple of Valadier, in Genga, Marche.
The visual contrast is outstanding: the neoclassic architecture in travertine designed by Giuseppe Valadier (Rome, 1762-1839) – with the luminous symmetry of its eight sides symbolizing the Resurrection of Jesus, which occurred “on the eighth day” – stands against the rough disarray of nature, near the magnificent Frasassi Caves dug in limestone by the Sentino river.
The local people very likely sought refuge in these hidden grottos around the 10th century, when tribes from today’s Hungary raided the area.
The temple was built in 1828 by pope Leone XII, born Annibale Sermattei della Genga, and once housed a statue of the Madonna and Child made in Antonio Canova’s workshop.
As one of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s titles is ‘refugium peccatorum’, meaning “refuge of sinners”, this was indeed a wonderful refuge for the soul.