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Monzuno gabbiano da montesole, credit

French Gothic style in the Apennines

Have you ever thought of finding a wonderful example of French Gothic style in the Apennines? Welcome to the Church of Gabbiano, a truly unique sacred building!

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Hidden treasures in the mountains

It is not every day that you come across, in the middle of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, a church with such a typically transalpine taste. The history of the Gabbiano church, however, has much older roots than the restructuring that gave it its current appearance.

The first plant of the church dates back to the fourteenth century: it appears in 1378 in the sample of the Archbishop's Table. The ancient church stood not far from the current one, further upstream, between two small streams, far from the building. In 1675 the ancient church, in ruins, was restored by the parish priest of the time but, three years later, an earthquake divided the two buildings of the church and rectory and four months later a landslide demolished both buildings.

The parish seat was then moved by a quarter of a mile to a small oratory in Pallarè insufficient for the population and at the beginning of the eighteenth century a new one was rebuilt, the church with bell tower and cemetery.

The building, 28 feet long, 14 feet wide and 18 feet high, with a beamed ceiling, has only one altar. The choir behind the main altar also served as a sacristy but a century later, in 1777, the church was again threatening ruin. Thus it was that, after successive renovations, the Church of Gabbiano comes to the present day.

A very special church

If you are passionate about art and architecture, this place is for you!

The building that we can admire now was redesigned and enlarged in 1921 on a project by the engineer Ildebrando Tabarroni who proposed a neo-Gothic architecture, according to the dictates of nineteenth-century eclecticism.

The church, in fact, has typological peculiarities totally unrelated to the Emilian architecture and much closer to the characteristics of the buildings beyond the mountains and a singular French Gothic style facade.

Two mountain priests, twelve cheeses and the Pope

In 1921 the parish priest of Montorio suggested that the parish priest of Gabbiano visit none other than the Pope to ask for funds for the structure of the church, bringing him twelve Monte Venere cheeses as a gift. Despite the reluctance of the Swiss Guards to allow the entry of the cheeses carried by the priests, after the meticulous instructions to the Vatican waiters for the conservation of the mountain product, the Pope received them in audience and, to the incredible amazement of the parish priests, gave them 25 thousand lire.

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