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Amandola, Church of Our Lady of Mercy under Agello





At the foot of the Agello Hill the tracks of the old railway that ran from Amandola to Porto San Giorgio snake fascinatingly along the valley in which stands the Church of Our Lady of Mercy, built in 1402 by order of the priors of Amandola. This is a church built in a hurry to invoke aid and mercy from the Virgin Mary against the lethal calamity of the plague. Its survival was determined by testamentary legacies of believers who were always ready to implore the protection and compassion of the divine glory. Over time the structure underwent innumerable restorations, but the most considerable involved the creation of an external loggia in 1437 to protect the pilgrims from bad weather, an extension of the nave in 1617, and in particular that of 1623 which entailed an upwards extension of the entire building and a new roof with a barrel vault. However, the frescoes suffered serious damage with the work in the 17th century and were subject to significant restoration only in 1973. The church managed to combat the wear of time thanks also to the money given by believers ex voto suscepto, often left in the holes for alms collection present along the walls of the sacred building. The Church of Our Lady of Mercy not only manages to fascinate the collective imagination owing to its original purpose, but also amazes us thanks to the conspicuous groups of paintings decorating the apse, the walls of the side naves and those of the external loggia. While some seem difficult to understand, the frescoes decorating the apse clearly indicate the reason that led the community to build the church. The main faēade has two distinct sections. While the lower part depicts the Dormition of the Virgin among the measured affliction of a candid angel and the manifest pain of the twelve disciples, the upper section depicts the Assumption of the Madonna to the Kingdom of Heaven, seated like an infant in the lap of the Son and honoured by the celestial music of a choir of angelic musicians. The left side depicts a majestic Lady of Mercy guarding under her protective wing all the believers who turn with humility to her compassionate divine kindness.