of Nadia Toppino
Already at the beginning of the 14th century, in Fossano there was a Confraternity of the Crucified Christ, which distributed alms and welcomed needy and foreign pilgrims. In the mid-sixteenth century two other associations were born from this Brotherhood, that of the Bianchi and that of the Neri Battuti (Black and White Penitents).
The Mother Brotherhood, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, starts from this moment to take care of administering the hospital, now more devoted to the hospitality of the poor and sick, than of pilgrims as it was originally.
The dress of the confreres is established in red, hence the name “Battuti Rossi”.
At this stage the oratory and the hospital are located in a district of the historic center, now Via Ancina. The decoration of this ancient building is now preserved in the Diocesan Museum.
The spaces of the old hospital had become too narrow and the location in the city center was unhygienic. Thus, in the first half of the eighteenth century, a new site was chosen, in the area adjacent to the walls next to Porta Romanisio.
The 1920s saw the start of the construction site, designed by Francesco Gallo. In the following decade, the Monregalese architect was engaged in the construction of the church, built between 1730 and 1739.
The church soon became the fulcrum of the southern part of the city, a place of connection between the great bulk of the hospital and the main district. The Holy Trinity by Luigi Gambera is painted on the beautiful façade with moving shapes.
The interior decorations – a veritable triumph of colors – are the work of the artist Michele Antonio Milocco and the decorators Pietro Antonio and Giovanni Pietro Pozzo.
At the beginning of the seventeenth century the brothers decreed that “to honor the memory of the illustrious benefactors of the hospital, they should be depicted on oil paintings“.
Thus was born a tradition that over time has been strengthened and extended to other Institutes of Charity, giving Fossano a great wealth of portraits.
Starting from the eighteenth century, these portraits will be exhibited in the city streets for the feast of the patron saint, a tradition honored even today.