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In an almost inaccessible spur of Monte Corsegno, at 766 meters above sea, stands the church dedicated to San Cataldo together with other buildings.
About the origin of the church it was written that it would have arisen as a hermitage of the underlying Benedictine monastery of Fonte Bono in medieval times, and then dedicated later to the holy Irish monk Cataldo, buried in Taranto. The current building certainly, as well as the houses surrounding it, should not have been built, however, before the 16th century.
The first certain news of the church is found in the Statutes of 1324. Following are three noble quotations in as many wills of 1468 that do not report significant news. In a notarial document of February 19, 1543, such a Martino di Battista Tessari assumes the contract to build a house in the area at the church of San Cataldo and probably it is one of the buildings that still exists today. At about the same time, the Augustinian report cited reads: “In monte di Corsegno is a beautiful fortress, almost at the top of the mountain, located in an inaccessible rock … this fortress was built by the community and also by details for the refugio of that people at the time of the needs; there is a church called San Cataldo… there are not very deep wells of good vein and perfect water”.
So the buildings and the church of San Cataldo, given the power of the place had been used as a fortress for the defense of the territory. The church is also mentioned in the reports of the Pastoral Visits of the 16th and 17th centuries, in which the sacred building is considered of little importance. As for more specifically the cult of the Saint, on June 20, 1616, the nobleman Ettore Buscalferri of Santa Anatolia was sent to Taranto and returned to his homeland bringing with him two relics of San Cataldo inside a silver case that was placed in the Church of the Pieve.
A particular feeling of peace pervades the spirit as you walk along the road to reach the pretty hermitage overlooking a rocky outcrop, it almost seems to throw itself into the void on the underlying valley of St. Peter.
It stands on the rubble of an ancient tower that had the only but very important task of protecting the castle of Santa Anatolia.
The cult of St. Cataldo, a saint of Irish origin, Bishop of Taranto spread in the territory of Macerata around the year 1000 and only in 1616 the population of Esanatoglia asked to proclaim him patron saint of the city alongside S. Anatolia.
Among the many miracles attributed to the Saint, in a legend it is said that Cataldo stopped with the sole imposition of a hand, the dangerous fall of a huge boulder that risked rolling up to the valley. Even today, along the road that leads to the hermitage, there is the alleged boulder above which are imprinted curious “holes” that legend attributes precisely to the footprints left by the fingers of S. Cataldo when he stopped the huge boulder.
May 9-10 represent the days of the feast of the Patron and, with a suggestive procession that culminates with the arrival at the hermitage, S. Cataldo is venerated.
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