Sanctuary of Madonna dei Bagni
The sanctuary, founded in the seventeenth century, is in the territory of the parish of Casalina town of Deruta (in the province of Perugia). Inside the sanctuary, the walls are covered with numerous panels of great value of Deruta pottery, that citizens have given as "ex voto" for the miracles received.
In addition to the extraordinary beauty of each panel, it is interesting to see through the designs what have been miracles over the centuries, up to the first and second World War ... and beyond.
THE HISTORY: An episode is almost banal for the origin of this devotion to Madonna dei Bagni. We are in the mid-century. XVII. A monk cappuccino goes for a path beaten by the hoofs of animals, halfway between the hill and the river, along the old Roman road which has now given way to a big road E 45 (already Tiber).
He suddenly sees between the rocks and the grass remains one of a cup to drink, a small cup from the bottom down with a leaf handle. On the inside of the cup a small image of the Virgin and Child, an unusual image, unconventional: the child is in the womb of the Mother, not sitting but almost kneeling on the left knee, in a sleek and almost intolerant of posture (sitting) held until then as those who are preparing to come to the aid of someone crying for help from him and that he only seems to hear his voice.
His right hand holds a sphere, the world where people live to where he came from, his brothers who came to save. When his mother, who seems surprised to observe, He points with his left hand the object and the reason for his urgency: the world that only he can save the world because that world is his, because he created it, because He has redeemed because only He can reach it forgiveness. And with lose hope.
The devout monk does not want the small cup with the sacred image remains on the ground, exposed to the risk of being crushed and maybe crushed by the hooves of animals and maybe by chariot wheels. Places it gently on a young Querciola (oak), a brief prayer and go on his way.
A precarious arrangement that can not last. In fact, the cup falls again and maybe even several times, until one day a merciaro (merchand) of Casalina named Christofono, firmly fixed it to the oak. It happened then that in March 1657 the wife of Christofono, fell seriously ill until it is reduced at the end of life. The poor man, now in front of the oak and the image of Mary that he had attached to the shaft, raised to the Mother of God a prayer for his wife's recovery. In the evening, returned home from the fair, found it totally healed and the intent to housework 'that swept the house.'
The news of the miracle spread in a flash. People immediately began the pilgrimage to the Oak of Bagno, and a small chapel was built in a very short time to enclose the Oak and the Image, so that the ecclesiastical authorities came under pressure to prohibit access to it. At the same time the Church start the trial that had to decide whether the new devotion could be allowed, or if they were to ban the popular pilgrimage. A month later, the cult of the Madonna of the oak was approved, under the title of Our Lady of the Bath. The process came to an end in less than a month and the cult was approved. Immediately resumed the pilgrimage to oak and 28 October of the same year, a Chapel not yet finished, a big party with the participation of the faithful from all over the valley in front of and beyond, marked the official beginning of worship. The chapel soon proved inadequate and in 1687 a new church was already bigger, corresponding, in the plant, to the present.
THE EX VOTO: From the beginning, the devotion to Our Lady of the Oak, or the bathroom, loved expression in art form most natural to the culture of the place: ceramic.
Now the sanctuary preserves, walled on the walls, a collection of about 700 votive tiles, all ceramic, which cover a period of 350 years: a capital iconographic very important, from the anthropological point of view, for the reconstruction of tissues social, cultural, and environmentalist, albeit to a lesser extent, also language of this tiny part of the middle valley of the Tiber.
The tradition of gift tile remained lively throughout the second half of the '600 and '700 whole, to undergo a strange eclipse throughout the XIX century. The devotion was, however, a strong recovery in the past century, especially after the First World War.
Particularly rich and interesting was the production of new specimens after the reopening of the Sanctuary in 1987, after the longest and sad weeks of years, seven years closing following the devastating theft of votive offerings, perpetrated in September 1980.
Many of the bricks (so called the local population) stolen or broken, almost half have been found, thanks to the operational units of the different police forces which deserve our gratitude.