The Corpus Domini Basilica in Turin thanks its existence to a miracle. On June 6th 1453, a group of French soldiers had plundered a church in the town of Exilles, close to the French border. They brought their loot to Turin, but when they arrived the donkey carrying the sacramental bread fell down. The Holy Spirit rose, to illuminate the city.
Corpus Domini Basilica Turin
Address: Via Palazzo di Città, 20 – Torino. Phone: +39 011 4366025. Opening times: From 07.30 till 11.30 and from 15.00 till 18.00. Ticket price: Free.
History and description
In 1521, a small chapel was constructed at the spot where the miraculous event had occurred. the architect was Matteo Sanmicheli, a cousin of the more famous Michele Sanmicheli, who was later to construct many buildings in Verona. The chapel was later destroyed, to make space for the basilica.
The present Corpus Domine Basilica was designed in 1603 by Ascanio Vitozzi. Vitozzi had also been responsible for the Piazza di Città, the square on which the church is located. He had been working on this since 1584, when the urban restructuring of Torino had started.
Construction of the church was completed in 1671. It was Francesco Lanfranchi who finished the facade, which consists two orders and a Baroque pediment. The four statues on the facade were the work of Bernardo Falconi.
The interior consists of a single nave with six side chapels.
Most of the polychrome marble decorations were the work of Benedetto Alfieri.
The main altar dates back to 1664 and was the work of Francesco Lanfranchi. It is decorated with a “Eucharistic Miracle” by Bartolomeo Caravoglia (1667).
Filippo Juvarra made the altar in the second chapel on the right.
The choir and the confessionals were sculpted in the 17th century.
The exact spot where the miracle is supposed to have taken place, is between the second and third chapels on the left.
The Spirito Santo Church nextdoor has its entrance in the Via Porta Palatina. It was designed by G.B. Feroggio in 1765.