The territorial context of the Tagghjate

The territorial context of the Tagghjate

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(edited by: Prof. G.nni Carafa)

The small apse behind the wall is very interesting, inside which - today still susceptible to a quick, furtive glance (...) - a Byzantine-style fresco depicts a theory of Saints and, in an almond, perhaps Christ. (Photo nos. 26-27-28). It is unusual to see such a pictorial testimony in a place where all the signs seem to belong to the simplest single active rural dedication (Photo nr. 29). Even the sacred garden behind it, for what little remains, preserves in its subsoil signs of an ancient cult of burial still to be investigated (...).

Photo nr. 26 - Fortified fortress, S. Maria di Camera, external original apse

Photo nr. 27 - Fortified fortress, S. Maria di Camera, original apse, Byzantine frescoes

Photo nr. 28 - Fortified fortress, S. Maria di Camera, original apse, frescoes, signs of iconoclastic fury

Photo nr. 29 - Fortified fortress, S. Maria di Camera, luxuriant countryside

The cult of the Madonna della Camera seems to be linked to the vicissitudes related to one of the frequent Turkish incursions on the territory. Perhaps in the fifteenth century when the people of Roccia, mostly peasants, terrified by the imminent arrival of the Ottoman horde from the nearby eastern Ionian shores, thought well, en masse, of finding unlikely divine protection in the Marian country church there.
When the soldiers arrived, the small community gathered devotedly around the icon of the Virgin. The repeated attempts of the infidels to break through the entrance door of the small church (room) resulted in vain, so much so that in the end they gave up on the insane intent of retaliation and raiding. Thus, the whole population, to thank the SS. Virgin for the narrow escape she offered herself to an intense veneration.

Another version of the facts, even more nebulous and mythical, wants that the church, in the context of the aforementioned vicissitudes, was nothing more than a country cottage, perhaps used as a storage room for tools, grains or other and, therefore, proof of coffer. The people of Roccia in flocking to it brought with them an icon of the SS. Virgin who, while the Turkish soldiers managed to get the better of the opening of the entrance door, blinded them with her divine light. The infidels, bewildered and terrified by the supreme event, desisted from the insane gesture and immediately retreated.

Over time it seems that there has been a dispute between the two neighboring communities of Roccaforzata and Monteparano in territorially annexing the said chapel (small church) precisely because of the devotional importance it assumed. It seems that the divine intervention of the SS once again put an end to the dispute. Virgin. The two communities agreed to let the Mother herself decide on this annexation.

They therefore decided to close the church for one night and if the next morning, at its immediate opening, the icon of the SS. Virgo had been found oriented towards one of the two countries this had to be interpreted as the sign of the divine will to win territorial belonging to that same country. It seems that the attribution was favorable to the people of Roccia who since then have held the territorial belonging of the site.
It is also said that the territorial counterpart had advanced strong doubts about the honesty of the people of Roccia who apparently had cleverly burst into the chapel at night to accommodate the icon of the SS. Virgo in their favor.

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