THE ANCIENT CATHEDRALS
Massa, S. Maria, Annunziata, Marina Lobra, Massa
Description of the route
A journey back in time to retrace the tormented vicissitudes that led to the construction and reconstruction of the Cathedral in different places before settling, in the 16th century, in the current one: the main square of Massa Centro, Largo Vescovado, where the hike begins.
Here you can admire the former cathedral Santa Maria delle Grazie and the annexed former bishop’s palace. After visiting the church, follow the rolling road Viale Filangieri and then Via IV Novembre.
After about 200 meters, on the left, there is the small chapel of Sant’Antonio, with a tiled floor. To the left of the chapel starts the narrow Via Sant’Antonio which gradually climbs towards the village of Santa Maria.
Here there is a small fifteenth-century church dedicated to Santa Maria della Misericordia, or rather S. Maria Fustigatium, for the protection that the Virgin offered to those who underwent the trial in the judicial offices located in the same square.
To the right of the church is the road leading to the village of Annunziata which, with Santa Maria, formed the ancient civitas of Massa Lubrense. The church of Annunziata was the cathedral of Massa Lubrense until 1465, when the entire city was razed to the ground by King Ferrante I of Aragon.
Continue towards the belvedere, with a spectacular view of Capri. From here the path goes among olive and oak trees and ends into the carriageway, below which stands the church dedicated to San Liberatore. Initially this was a small chapel, built in 1420 after an effigy painted on stone was found in that place. Local people attributed thaumaturgical powers to the effigy and the Saint depicted was considered San Liberato, called San Liberatore for freeding Massa from several epidemics; at every escaped calamity the chapel was enlarged up to its actual shape.
The route continues following the path which, gently degrading, leads towards Marina Lobra. In this delightful village, the “Major Ecclesia” had two locations over the centuries. The first shortly after the advent of Christianity, when this place was called Delubrum, and the second when, after the destruction by Ferrante I, the bishop of the time Msgr. Scannapeco decided to transfer it over the pier, to Fontanelle. But the spring there present, with its erosion activity, was the cause of the ruin of the sacred building which, after just fifty years, was moved to its present location.
At the top of the fishing village, in the place called Capitello, a new church was built in the 16th century and was dedicated to the Madonna della Lobra. Walking back along Via Cristoforo Colombo the route leads to the Villarca district, so called because of the presence of a small arch that connects the ancient college of the Jesuit fathers to the high tower (Torrione) built just to defend the college. From here, following Via Roma, you will arrive again in Piazza Vescovado.