Church of Santa Maria della Pioggia
The sanctuary, situated at the crossing between Galliera road and Riva di Reno road, has been recently restored both in the inside, by the Foundation of the Mount together with the Camilliani, and in the frescoed facade, by the Pii Istituti Educativi(Charitable Educational Institutions), the current owner of the building.
The Oratory of Saint Bartolomeo (1204) together with the below Church della Pioggia soon discovered a charitable vocation that they honoured for four centuries. It's mainly merit of the Company of Saint Bartolomeo of Reno, which began its commitment by creating spaces of reception for guests directed to Rome and for "poor priests".
The following changes transformed the building complex in a home for the orphans of the plague and the consequent famine of 1527. In 1561 instead, Bologna was struck by a violent drought; it is the Regiment that authorises a procession which numerous faithfuls and citizens took part in and it is remembered as a great event in which the crowd's demands were satisfied by the abundant raining fall in the following days. In this moment the cult of the Madonna della Pioggia borns.
THE MIRACOLOUS TABLE
The small table venerated for centuries representing the "Madonna col Bambino circondati da sette teste d'angeli" is attributed to painter Michele di Matteo of the fifteenth century and now it adorns the greater altar of the church.
Its discovery dates back to the XIV century and it was found during the removal of the ruins of a palace destroyed from an adjacent fire to the oratory. The finding is considered miraculous because the art work appeared completely undamaged despite the dramatic events and because it was attributed to it the miracolous restitution of the sight to a blind person who came to honor the discovered icon.
The church is composed of just one room with three lateral chapels for side, covered with a frescoed barrel vault. The present art works derive from generous offerings given by the citizens in order to enrich and thank the noble assistance work of the church. The collection comprises some art works of great value, among them three paintings by Agostino Carracci, cousin of Ludovico Carracci: "Adorazione dei pastori", "Pala di San Bartolomeo di Reno" and the two "Profeti" in the arch of the chapel; other art works are: "Santo Bartolomeo" by Francesco Monti; "Madonna della Provvidenza", one stone statue on the left of the altar; "Cristo coronato di spine", a polychromatic earthenware bust protected by a glass case; "Santo Vincenzo Ferreri" by Antonio Crespi and "Santo Luigi Gonzaga" by Ercole Graziani, two framed ovals placed in the sides of the altar; "San Pietro dopo la triplice negazione di Cristo", "Matrimonio mistico di Santa Caterina" and the "Sepoltura di Santa Caterina di Alessandria" attributed to Graziani and they are placed in the sacresty; which is on the right of the altar instead: "Camillo dè Lellis che assiste un malato" by Dante Bizzotto; a statue representing "Sant' Antonio da Padova con Bambino" by G.A. Raimondi; "Madonna col Bambino in trono tra le Sante Caterina e Lucia" a sixteenth century painting by Alessandro Stiatici.
THE FORMER ORATORY
From 124 Riva di Reno road you can have access to the rooms that lead to the first floor of the complex once named after San Bartolomeo di Reno, which was hosting some rooms of the children's home and the oratory, seat of the Company of Saint Bartolomeo. You can climb the wonderful eighteenth century steps, which are dominated by the beautiful "Paesaggio con San Bartolomeo", a painting by Ludovico Mattioli. In the rooms you can find sixteenth century frescoes and one particular earthenware sculpture by Alfonso Lombardi, which represents Saint Bartolomeo.
The description is taken from "Il Santuario di Santa Maria della Pioggia, già chiesa di San Bartolomeo di Reno" a cura di Giovanni Sassu (Costa Editore)