THE OSSUARY-MEMORIAL MONUMENT

Sacrario Ossario della battaglia di Castelfidardo

THE OSSUARY-MEMORIAL MONUMENT OF THE FALLEN SOLDIERS IN THE BATTLE OF CASTELFIDARDO

 The Ossuary of the soldiers fallen in Castelfidardo during the battle of 18th September 1860 was built in the Selva of Castelfidardo Southern, where the bloodiest phase of the battle took place.

It had been the place of remembrance of the Fallen soldiers till 1912, but after the launch of the monument to the Victorious sons of Castelfidardo in 1912 it was gradually abandoned. In 1980 the Association Italia Nostra and the Municipality of Castelfidardo restarted the celebrations in remembrance of the battle of the Fallen soldiers, while in 2010, for the 150° anniversary, the Municipality provided for the renovation in cooperation with the Ferretti Foundation.

After the defeat of the papal army (around 2.00 p.m. of the 18th September 1860), the injured soldiers were brought to the few hospitals and churches of Loreto, Castelfidardo and Osimo. The day after the fallen soldiers were picked up and buried into the battlefield in two separate graves without a gravestone which could remember them. That anonymous and disrespectful burial made the local people wish to give the valorous soldiers who had come from all around Europe a deserving burial. Therefore, arose the idea of building the Ossuary- Memorial Monument.

The commitment of the mayor of Castelfidardo of that time, Attilio Sciava, together with the Engineer Antonio Bianchi from Recanati was crucial. A subscription was opened to find the money needed for the construction and, the 27th September 1861, in the presence of Umberto and Amedeo of Savoy, the first stone was laid. After many vicissitudes, the construction works stopped because the upper budget limit has been exceeded. In 1965 the Provincial Administration of Ancona completed it after reducing the dimensions to those we can see nowadays and replacing the bronze angel (that was expected to lay at the center of the structure) with a column of Istrian marble. 

The monument is made up of a squared paved platform (12×12 meters) overcome by 12 truncated quadrangular pyramids realized in travertine of Ascoli. They are connected by thick balustrades of the same material. Throughout two opposite entrances in the balustrades, it is possible to reach the central column; beneath which there is the room where are deposited the bones of the fallen soldiers located on separate levels. The Ossuary is a monument of relevant entity with a great symbolic and iconographic value which is typical of the Risorgimento. The names of the Piedmontes fallen soldiers are engraved on the external sides of the pyramids, as the Veterans Commission of the battles of Risorgimento of 1848/1849 indicated his memory in the name of each fallen. The names of the papal fallen soldiers were not written because they were unknown, but in their memory the internal sides of the pyramids were left white. All around the monument cypresses and hedges of bay trees were planted as a frame to what our fathers considered the first concrete type of sharing and brotherhood among European men. Till 1956 the Ossuary was a place consecrated to the Catholic Church. It was the noblewoman Maria Lucrezia Lepetit , duchess Ferretti of Castelferretto who asked and obtained from the bishop of Recanati to bless the monument and the remains of the soldiers. Over the central column was therefore put a Christian cross. Since then the monument took the name of Ossuary- Memorial Monument of the Piedmontes and Papal fallen soldiers in the battle of Castelfidardo of 18th September 1860.

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