CASTELLETTO – Church of St. Jerome
edited by “Soave in Art”
Castelletto is located in the plain south of Soave. It takes its name from a small castle that was here in the early middle ages. The town’s archeological importance comes from a large necropolis discovered there in which many funerary objects were found. This necropolis was located in the area where the old church of San Girolamo and the new 20th century church dedicated to Maria Ausiliatrice now stand.
The church of San Girolamo (Saint Jerome) of the Jesuates first appears in records starting in 1492, with mention of an adjacent hospital for pilgrims and the sick. After the Jesuate order was abolished in the 1600s, the building became first a chapel for noble families, then a rectory and finally a parish church in 1938. After the construction of the new church, the old building was abandoned and declined to a point that the whole structure became compromised.
Thanks to recent restorations, the church has regained its original, simple and linear style, while the interior decoration has been almost completely lost.
The main entrance opens in the façade with a portal from the 1400s. A niche above the door held a statue of Saint Jerome, which is now housed in the new church. Under the niche is an inscription commemorating the work done by the owner at the time, Giovanni Bertani, to enlarge the church in 1838. There is also a side entrance with a double flight of stairs and a small bell tower, whose bells now also reside in the modern church.
The inside has a single nave, which used to be covered by a barrel vault. The marble altar still stands where it replaced its wooden predecessor in 1735. The oldest remaining painting is a canvas of Saint Jerome by an unknown artist, once in the church’s choir and now in the new church.
Prior to the restoration, remnants of frescoes of the Ascension from 1924, painted by Mattielli, were visible in the aps, but these have been completely lost.
The Soave master also painted “The Sacred Family of Nazareth” in 1952, which is also now in the new church.