Ancona and Camerano

Giuseppe Capriotti

The comparative case studies regard the confraternities of Schiavoni of Ancona and Camerano, particularly the edification and decoration of church of St. Blaise in Ancona, built in the center of the city in 1748, and church of St. Germain in Camerano, built in a suburban area in the 17th century.

The first church, dedicated to St. Blaise, was settled by the Schiavoni immigrants in Ancona in 1439; the confraternity first built a church, always dedicated to St. Blaise, in the Poggio (a peripheral area in the Conero Mount), then the same confraternity moved from the periphery to the center, promoting the construction of a new church in 1667, then renewed in 1748. The architectural project was entrusted to Giovan Battista Urbini, while the stucco decoration in the interior was executed by Gioacchino Varlè. The altarpiece, traditionally considered to be a late reproduction of the image brought by the Croatians in the 15th century, was painted by Domenico Simonetti called “il Magatta”. The presence of St. Blaise in the canvas is still very significant, because Blaise is the patron saint of Dubrovnik, highly revered by the Schiavoni of the Marche Region.

The Illyrian colony of Camerano obtained its pastoral care at the church of St. Germain in 1478 by Bishop Antonio Fatati; in 1539, a confraternity of Schiavoni was granted patronage of the parish by Bishop Baldovinetto Baldovinetti, and a priest in residence was assigned by Bishop Carlo Conti in 1610. The construction of the church, as well as its decoration with paintings by anonymous masters, is close to these dates. The research on the confraternity and the church is based on parish archival documentation and on the documentation preserved in the Ancona Diocesan Archive.

Both cases share the massive phenomenon of integration: both confraternities gradually cease to be formed only by Croatians, but always maintain this specificity in the narrative of their history. Another segment covers the placement of the buildings of the confraternities in central or in suburban areas of the city, according to the dialectics of center and periphery.