Sanctuary of Maria Santissima della Stella
Santuario di Maria Santissima della Stella
The sanctuary lies on a soil that, during the 15th or 16th century, was donated to Capuchin monks; a local historial, Francesco Cillo, asserts that this was also the place where the original castle of the De Rotundis family was located.
The friars originally built an hermitage and, on top of it, a small chapel covered by a simple wooden roof, that hosted a Byzantine statue of the Virgin Mary as the Star of the Sea. The hermitage was mentioned for the first time in 1599, as it was visited by the archbishop of Benevento.
In the middle of 17th century the conditions of the chapel were rather poor; after further damages due to earthquakes in 1688 and 1702, a man called Michelangelo Leggieri promoted the restoration of the building, whereas the archbishop Vincenzo Maria Orsini (the future Pope Benedict XIII) donated the community a new statue of Madonna della Stella, the one currently venerated. In this occasion a Confraternity of the church was born as well.
During the following centuries, the complex has been expanded several times. With a first intervention in 1727-1736, a loggia was built in front of the former hermitage, facing the valley; and the access to the chapel was moved from the rear side to the top of the loggia. Other refurbishment works took place in 1885-1888: the chapel was enlarged and its interior decorated the way it still appears nowadays. In 1905 the lodge was strengthened with buttresses, and a bell tower was erected on the right of the chapel. In 1965, a building behind the church was completed, to be used as seat of the Confraternity and accommodation for pilgrims.
The archbishop of Benevento, Serafino Sprovieri, during the 2005 celebrations for the 300 years of the new statue of Madonna della Stella, awarded the church with the title of 'town sanctuary'.
Santuario "Maria SS. della Stella" in Rotondi
Website of the sanctuary.