The oratory of San Giovanni Battista o “della Paglia” (XV century)

Description

It is located close to the Quadrato and it is one of the most ancient places of worship in Villafranca since it dates up to the 15th century. the Baroque marble altar was realized in 1620, as it shown on the headstone that stands above it, and contains a shovel attributed to Antonio Balestra (1666 -1740), a disciple of Prendaglio that represents the Battista with a lamb and a little angel.

From documents and archaeological findings, it seems that the whole complex belonged to the Knights of Malta, a religious and chivalrous order whose distinctive element was the practice of offering hospitality to travellers.

Later, the property was purchased by some noble families and since the beginning of the 20th century it belongs  to the Vantini family.

In the past, "St. Zuane"  was a well-known rest area  and up to 1940 also jugglers and troubadours who animated the fair of San Pietro spent some time in the courtyard or were lodged under the portico by the families who lived in the houses next to the little church.

Pilgrims would look for lodging in the stables where they were sure they would find a straw bed for one or more nights; the expression "San Giovanni della paglia" (St. John of the straw) apparently originates from this anecdote.

During the second world war the occasions to organize parties became less frequent and in the postwar period the habit of giving hospitality was abandoned.

 

The little church was restored in 1970s and it currently belongs to a private owner; it is available for visits only upon request, during celebrations in honour of San Giovanni Battista on the 24th of June and on the 29th of August, as well as for the pray of the rosary in May.

How to get

Motorway A22 (Brennero-Modena) take the exit Nogarole Rocca, follow the indications for Villafranca di Verona. The church is in direction of Verona, close to the Obelisk of the Quadrato.

Motorway A4 (Milano-Venezia) take the exit Sommacampagna, follow the indications for Villafranca di Verona. The church is in direction of Verona, close to the Obelisk of the Quadrato.

From the Airport “Valerio Catullo” of Verona: take the 'tangenziale' and follow the indications for Villafranca di Verona, or take the train or coach that stop at Villafranca di Verona. The church is in direction of Verona, close to the Obelisk of the Quadrato.

From Verona take the 'tangenziale' and follow the indications for Villafranca di Verona. The church is in direction of Verona, close to the Obelisk of the Quadrato.

From Mantua follow the strada statale 62 della Cisa, towards Villafranca di Verona. The church is in direction of Verona, close to the Obelisk of the Quadrato.

Contatta le Terre del Custoza

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