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The Church of the Guardian Angel
at Calcinelli di Saltara

[image ALT: A small pedimented brick building, somewhat taller than strictly cubical. It is the chiesa dell' Angelo Custode — the one-room church of the Guardian Angel — in Calcinelli, Marche (central Italy).]

The attractive one-room church you see above, the chiesa dell' Angelo Custode to give it its Italian name, was once the principal church — the only church — of Calcinelli, and plenty big enough to serve its community, a sleepy agricultural area of the northern Marche; it seems to have been built in the late 18c or early 19c, when a little knot of houses started to grow into a village.

Calcinelli, though, has taken off. The ancient Roman Via Flaminia, onto which the chapel fronts, attracted population and commerce; World War II led to further development: larger towns in the area were at risk of bombing by both sides, and evacuees were sent to nearby places that might absorb them — and after the war many of those who had left Fano and Pesaro decided not to go back: Americans will recognize the same forces at work as with the inhabitants of New Orleans displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

So Calcinelli is now a vigorous, booming, sprawling, car-infested place of over five thousand inhabitants; when in the 20c she built herself the much larger church of S. Croce somewhere else, l'Angelo Custode, recent as it is, became an important historical witness to the earliest days of this new town: the church is in fact the heart of Calcinelli.

[image ALT: missingALT. It is the interior of the chiesa dell' Angelo Custode — the church of the Guardian Angel — in Calcinelli, Marche (central Italy).]

But who will guard the Guardian Angel? Though the building itself appears to be in good shape, the Flaminia on which it stands, now asphalted over, one of the heaviest-travelled roads in Pesaro province, the main vector of growth in the area, has become prime real estate. When I saw the church, it was part of a pleasant little nook of similar buildings: low, simple, clear and functional. As I walked the Flaminia that day in August of 2000, I should have realized the church, or at least its dignity, was endangered. Franco Cenerelli's page tells the story as of 2004. I have for now no further information.

For a similar witness to history on this very busy highway, you may compare our church with the wayside shrine at Lucrezia, just 3 km down the road.

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Page updated: 27 Mar 08