Monastery of the Santissimo Rosario in Monticchio

Monastery of the Santissimo Rosario

Position: Monticchio

The monastery, built in the first half of the 1700s, has a church annexed to it which is accessed via a large staircase with two semicircular ramps. Both the majolica floor of the church and the cloister (with a panel attributed to Ignazio Chiaiese, a famous 18th-century Neapolitan majolica master) are worth a visit. You can request permission to visit the monastery.

The pious Neapolitan woman Cristina Olivieri since 1707 went to vacation in the village of Monticchio, where she was a guest of the Tizzanos; during those stays she began to collect oblations with the intention of founding a monastery. With the money raised, Sister Cristina bought two small areas at the parish church, and having obtained the consent of Bishop De Rossi in 1723, invited the parish priest of Monticchio to bless the first stone, which was laid with a cross carved in the ditches where they raised the foundations of the pious place.

But this raised a general discontent among the citizens of Massa, who, having appealed, were summoned to parliament on April 4, 1723. Having put the question of the Monticchio monastery to a vote, 27 votes were obtained against it and only 2 in favor; then a plea was made to the Viceroy in which the reasons for the discontent were exposed, namely that there were far too many religious corporations in Massa, and that they owned a large part of the territory, while the population was impoverished. But Olivieri entirely frustrated the appeal of the citizens of Massa, declaring to the Sacred Royal Council that she erected those buildings for her private use.

The opposition of the citizens and the defenses of the founder continued for several years, and permissive or prohibitive decrees alternated with the continuation of the construction. Meanwhile the building was progressing, and in 1732 it was largely made, while the sum of 4150 ducats had already been used, as the manufacturers declared on June 12 of that year. At this point the citizens raised new protests and also the treasurer of the church of S. Pietro, saying that the conservatory was prejudicial to that church; but the admirable tenacity of Sister Cristina triumphed again, because the Viceroy decreed on May 24 that no ban had been made on the construction of the monastery.

With the coming of the Bourbon government the controversy took hold again and the citizens on January 18, 1738 obtained from the Royal Chamber new prohibition to continue the building if it were for the use of conservatory; and the King conformed to this consultation with Dispatch of February 14. But on the 20th of the same month, the founder presented another petition to the Royal Chamber. After this, since no documents were found in the trials, it is to be assumed that Olivieri’s plea had to be heard. And this is confirmed by the fact that a few years later the conservatory was completed and inhabited by the nuns, so that Msgr. Pisani was able to visit it in 1746. The nuns accepted the rule of St. Domenico.

The building, of good construction, stands in a beautiful position west of the parish church of Monticchio.