photo © Italo Caira
Piazza Garibaldi is one of the main squares in Atina. Here is the gateway that leads into the historic centre of Atina Superiore. It is called the Porta dell’Assunta or Porta di San Rocco.
The ancient town of Atina was completely destroyed by a terrifying earthquake in 1349. Subsequently a new town was built. Medieval Atina was guarded by the castle (Palazzo Ducale) of Rostaino Cantelmo, and surrounded by a circuit of defensive town walls which included twenty watch towers, and was also encircled by a moat. At that period there were three gateways into the town, namely the Porta di San Rocco, Porta Fontana and Porta Santa Maria. The original main entrance had a gothic pointed archway.
In 1760 the gateway in Piazza Garibaldi was demolished and a new version was constructed which was larger in size and semi-circular in shape.
In 1775 the Bolognaise artist Giovan Battista Maini (who at that time was working at the Abbey of Montecassino, embellished the archway by adding a carving of Christ Blessing and Supporting The World on its Apex.
The gateway was severely damaged during the bombing of the Second World War and was finally rebuilt in 1948, with modifications making it slightly taller and extending the width to accommodate large vehicles during the reconstruction of the town centre.
On the opposite side of the square is the Convent of San Francesco. In front there are the remains of a Roman water cistern covered by a curious glass pyramid. Across the street on the corner of Via San Nicola is the old palace of Alfonso Visocchi (which is now used as a bank).
In Piazza Garibaldi there was a fountain, which was known by the locals as il fontanone. Sadly this was badly damaged during the bombardment of Atina during the Second World War.
However, in recent years a new fountain has been installed. The architect Eugenio Cannatà, born in Atina – but a resident of New York in the USA for many years, donated funds to create a new monument. The new fountain bears the inscription “In memoria dei coniugi Guglielmo e Ofelia Cannatà”. The fountain was skillfully carved from Corena marble by the artist Matteo Bastianelli. The inauguration of the new fountain took place on 15th August 2014.
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