The church of San Rocco (15th century)




In the Bassano neighborhood outside the city walls, sits the 15th century church of San Rocco on the site of an ancient Roman cemetery.  It was probably built on the occasion of one of the plague epidemics that occurred periodically that century. It is a simple chapel that contains a fresco of the saint.  The cult of San Rocco has apparently old roots in Soave, if already in 1521 the church was being enlarged as it states under the eaves of the right wall.  In the 15th century a brotherhood existed, dedicated to San Rocco, which gave the assignment to Francesco Morone to paint the altarpiece showing the saint (later brought to the parish church for fear of theft), dated March 24th, 1529.  The very sober interior of the church houses a few tombs.  There is also an altar dedicated to Saint Anne.  The church was modified in 1890 by the abbot-architect Gottardi, when the floor was lowered to the level of the street outside.  The slim and pretty bell tower remains unchanged, with a terracotta cupola in brick, shaped like a pinecone.  A cemetery has existed behind the church at least since 1630, the year of the plague, though it was unused for a period, due to the proximity of houses.  The church of San Rocco, like the nearby Sanctuary of the Bassanella, are built on very ancient sacred spaces, which could well hark from pre-Christian cultures.  Since 2005, the church has been the property of the city of Soave and was restored in 2007.

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