The tour of Cormòns begins from the town centre. This can easily be done on foot, starting from piazza Libertà, where the main streets begin. In the middle of the square, in front of the Church of Santa Caterina (also known as Mystic Rose), there is a bronze statue by the Viennese sculptor Hofmann (1903) of Emperor Maximilian I of Hapsburg (1459-1519). The statue is one of the few monuments in Italy dedicated to a foreign sovereign. From piazza Libertà turn onto via Matteotti to get to the IAT Information Office. Further on you can admire an XVIIIth-century residence with an elaborate façade: Palazzo Del Mestri (private). Next you come to the monumental Piazza XXIV Maggio, recently restructured by the Viennese architect Podrecca. The square is dominated by the XVIIIth-century Palazzo Locatelli, now the Town Hall. Inside there are some frescoes by Picco depicting scenes of everyday life. The Civic Museum is in the gardens, and has a collection of paintings by the local sculptor Alfonso Canciani. On the left corner of Palazzo Locatelli, at the Enoteca, you can taste the best local wines and the famous D`Osualdo smoked ham. Going from piazza XXIV Maggio to via Dante, on the right is Palazzo Taccò-Aita (private), famous for the XVIIIth-century stuccos by Pacassi in the central hall. There are also two large paintings, especially created by the artist Lichtenreit for this hall in 1747. Another typical feature of the historic centre is the Ceuta di Sant'Adalberto; a group of old buildings surrounding and protecting the Cathedral. Going from piazza XXIV Maggio, across the narrow Riva della Torre, you get to Piazzetta Patriarchi and then via Duomo, going through the heart of town with its medieval layout. Nearby, in via Cancelleria Vecchia, you can admire the Neuhaus with its XIVth-century tower. Our tour of Cormòns continues with a visit to the Cathedral and other churches.
The Cathedral of Cormons is on a hill within the boundaries of the Centa di Sant'Adalberto, in the medieval heart of town. It is dedicated to Saint Adalberto, bishop of Prague. A spectacular stairway leads up to the façade with three flights where there are niches containing three statues in carrara marble. They were made in 1896 by Girolamo Fiaschi and feature, on the left, Saint Adalberto, in the middle a Virgin Enthroned with baby and on the right Saint Filippo Neri. The bell tower is the second highest in the Diocese of Gorizia, after the one in Aquileia. lt has a single nave opening onto three lateral chapels on each side with their own altars. On the left is the one of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, decorated with an altarpiece by the local artist Luigi Castellani, the chapel of Saint Joseph with an Adoration of the shepherds by Pietro Bainville, and the altar of the Holy Trinity adorned with a painting by Giuseppe Tomìnz (1790-1866) of the Holy Trinity with the early martyrs of Aquileia, Ermacora and Fortunato. The other altars are decorated with altar piece picting Saint Filippo Neri in the act of prayer with Saint Antonio Abate and Saint Valentine (1820-21) The baroque high altar is preceded by a stairway flanked by two sculptures of Saint Adalberto and Saint Giacomo Maggiore, below which are the bas-reliefs of Saint Florian in the act oƒ putting out a fire and Saint George killing the dragon. The architrave is adorned with the allegoric figures of Faith and Hope, While the dome is adorned with an Assumption. In the basement there are some mummies from the second half of the XVIIIth century still wearing their original clothes. Next to the Cathedral is the Cjase de Plef Antighe where most of the sacred art in Cormons is conserved.
Icon of S. Adalberto, Bishop and Martyr
Icon of S. Adalberto, Bishop and Martyr
He was born in Libice, Bohemia, in 953. His origins were noble and his family was one of the most important and powerful ones. He was baptized with the name Vojotech, that in czech means both "strong in battle"
and "magnificent and noble-hearted". He went to Magdeburg (Germany) to study at the school of Bishop Alberto, and from this experience he will choose his new name. In fact, at the moment of his confirmation,
he decided to call himself Adalberto, in honour of his teacher. After finishing his studies, in 981 he came back to his country, offering his services to Titmaro, first Bishop of Prague. But Titmaro died just some months after,
so Adalberto was summoned in Verona by Emperor Ottone II, and here appointed Titmaro's successor.
Then he came back to Prague, barefoot and with humble attitude. The rulers of the city were hostile, and the rough habits of the people, still connected to pagan rites, put him in conflict with the nobility. Because of his numerous attempts to fight against slavery, he was forced to leave Prague. He took refuge in the Monastery of S. Bonifacio and S. Alessio in Rome, and here he embraced the Rule of S. Benedetto. He lived in complete repentance, praying alone and then, three years after, he returned Prague, after receiving an embassy from his country. Here he started again his episcopal ministry in 992.
He tried to set moral standards for local habits. He founded some monasteries, trying to evangelize those lands. He travelled a lot as a missionary, contributing so much to spread Christianity in Hungary, that according to tradition he managed to baptize S. Stefano King of Hungary in those days. In 995 he was forced to leave again Prague, so he came back to the Monastery of S. Bonifacio and S. Alessio in Rome.
But the Roman Synod, pressed for by the Bishop of Magonza and by Emperor Ottone III, forced him to return Prague to take his bishop's throne again. On his way back from Rome, he found out his family were killed by political enemies. Then he decided to go to Prussia as a missionary. His brother Gaudenzio, the one who survived the massacre, decided to go with him.
He decided to go first to France to pray on the burials of the Saints. Then he reach Ottone III's court (december 996). One year fater, in spring, he tried to reach the pagan lands, without any kind of escort. Only his brother Gaudenzio and another monk were with him. On 17th April 997, the three pilgrims were arrested while preaching the Gospel in a village. After a brief trial they were deported from the country and sentenced to death in case they would be catched again. Some days after, the 23rd April to be precise, Adalberto and his fellow travellers tried to reach other villages to go on with their mission but a handful of soldiers led by a pagan priest captured them. Adalberto was dragged on a hill and then stabbed with numerous spears. He was killed right in front of his companions. The torturers decapitated him and put his head on a spearhead, being a warning for all the people.
His body remained there being watched over by an eagle until Duke Boleslao "the Courageous" paid an expensive ransom for it. It was carried with great ceremony in the Church of Gniezno, and his translation is celebrated up till nowu on 20th October by the Polish Church, that probably wants to hand down the memory of S.Adalberto's canonization, occurred in 999 under the pontificate of Silvestro II.
The traditional iconography depicts the Martyr with his body pierced by seven spears. His head is cut off and he bring it in his hands, while in the sky an eagle is flying. The cult of this martyr quickly spread in Germanic and Slavonic Europe, and S. Adalberto is still one of the few saints belonging to the Latin liturgy that are also worshipped by the Russian Orthodox Church. His mortal reamins has been placed in the Cathedral of Prague since 1060, and from that time, every 23rd August the memory of his translation from Gniezno is celebrated in the whole Bohemia.
The way in which the cult of S. Adalberto has come till Cormòns through Poland, Bohemia and Hungary is a mistery. It's quite certain that the Duomo was named "Sanctus et christinissimus Martyr Christi Adalbertus" in ancient times, as written in many historical documents.
Every devout people in Cormòns today remembers the protection given by the Patron Saint, and pray him singing the Hymn the tradition has passed on:
" Gesù Cristo abbi pietà di noi.
Tu, salute della nostra pace, abbi
Pietà di noi.
Ascolta, Signore, la nostra preghiera.
Dà a noi tutti, Signore,
Benedizione e Pace sulla terra "
The Church of Santa Caterina, or Sanctuary of Mystic Rose, is in piazza Libertà. It has two towers with onion domes. The Church of the Santissimo Crocifisso della Subida dates from the late XVIth century when the story goes that some peasants noticed a few drops of blood on a crucifix on this site. The Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin of Succour overlooks Cormons from the top of Mount Quarin. It was built in 1636. The high altar is in gilded in laid wood, and dates from the early XVIIIth century. The XVth-century Patriarchal Basilica of Saint John is on via Sottomonte. The basilica is within the Centa di San Giovanni, a group of old houses where time seems to have stopped. Inside the church there are some splendid XVIth-century frescoes. On the road to Brazzano is the XIVth-century Church of Santa Maria, or Sant'Apollonia.