Rocca Priora

Madonna della Neve Sanctuary

The Chiesa di Santa Maria della Neve, which dates back to the 16th century, was originally a small chapel where a hermit lived and where the inhabitants of Rocca Priora prayed to the Virgin for a heavy snow falls every year.

The trade of ice was the most important economical activity of Rocca Priora, which development mostly in the 17th century continuing until the beginning of the 1900s, that is, until the first refrigerators had been invented and diffused. The snow was collected, compressed in deep and large pits and covered with hay. It was stored in enormous thermal pits until carts took the blocks of iceto Rome that were sold to wealthy families. In 1660, the very religious Marquis Zenobio Baldinotti from Florence decided to renovate and extend the small chapel as a token of gratitude to the Virgin for the rich profits. It was also improved by the addition of adjacent service quarters.Since, a copy of the image of the Madonna della Nave is placed on the high altar. The original image is kept in the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, which was also built in remembrance of a miraculous snowstorm in Rome, on 5th August in the year 352.

The community of Rocca Priora also celebrates the Virgine della Neve as a token of gratitude by a procession in memory of the event on the first Sunday of August.

The Fathers of the Pallottines have run the Sanctuary since 1860.