Around the small church, the town. In the town’s heart, Villa Quaranta.
Next to the small church of S.Maria dell’Ospedale di Mezzacampagna there was a hospital which gave the name to the town of Ospedaletto. It is a centuries-old church, still open to the public, in which ceremonies and events are still celebrated. Next to it, in the heart of the town, the Villa and other buildings nearby were built over time and these are now part of Villa Quaranta.
The history, in brief
The church of S.Maria dell'Ospedale di Mezzacampagna lies in the town centre, overlooking the Statale del Brennero trunk road. It is dedicated to the Purification of Virgin Mary.
It has undoubtedly romanic origins and it currently forms one whole building with the Villa padronale, which was erected around the half of the 1600s. In the past, a hospital existed - a «hospicium» already mentioned in 1141 - after which the town of Ospedaletto was named. During the Venetian period, this had turned into a symbolic place where Valpolicella outgoing vicars publicly passed the baton to new vicars.
Nowadays, the small church is still a semi-public oratory: though being a private property, it must be kept open to the public for religious ceremonies. Also weddings and private functions take place there, as well as various art-related and opera-related events.
During the 1600s, the church underwent radical changes when the Villa was built. Later, when more houses were added (thus hidding the façade), the church was lifted. Since 1920, the church of Ospedaletto has ceased to depend on Pescantina archpriests and has become a subsidiary church of the Chiesa del S. Cuore di Gesù di Domegliara (church of Jesus' Sacred Heart in Domegliara) in the comune of S.Ambrogio della Valpolicella.
Thanks to the restoration commissioned by Dott. Carlo Vecchi to the painter Enos Passerini after World War II, the church now displays a XVI-century altar piece originally created by Paolo Moro. The restoration also renewed the sacristy: here, Mr. Passerini realised some nice decorations on the ceiling rib vaults by completing the parts of some frescos discovered during the restoration work.
The church also houses different mural paintings by Ligozzi, while, in the floor under the altar, there are three graves - one of a child - that are traditionally associated to Counts Butturini from Venice, the owners during the beginning of the nineteenth century. Ligozzi, whose parents were painters, is the author of the wall paintings and had a great imagination. He preferred battle scenes and characters with Middle East dresses, though staying loyal to the Council of Trent's principles.
The scene of the Crucifixion is impressing, however, the novel representation of Pilate's Court is particularly interesting because it is painted in the style of a big "cartoon strip". The characters of the Sanhedrin, for the vast majority depicted as sitting, some of them in Middle East dresses, are represented next to the writings that express their opinions and verdicts. Painting these written scrolls, each of them associated to one character, creates the effect of an enormous cartoon strip three years before the introduction of the famous system that is popular today.
Holy Mass Hours
Sunday and holidays: 10.00