Around 1100, with Bologna involved in the fierce struggle between the Guelphs and Ghibellines, stories about the beauty of Lucia, Mother Superior of the Camaldolese monastery of Stifonti (Settefonti), soon reached the garrisons stationed in the territory. In particular, a soldier of fortune, the Bolognese Count Diatagora Fava, known as Rolando, had himself transferred to San Pietro di Ozzano just to know her.
According to the legend, every morning Rolando rode along the path through the gullies leading to the convent of his beloved. The church stood on the ridge not far the Parish Church of Pastino (built around 1000 on the ruins of a temple dedicated to the God Pan). Lucia soon found herself battling the turmoil his visits provoked. Prayers, vigils and penitence only served to endanger her health. When finally Lucia decided to meet Rolando, they confessed their mutual love for each other, but she did not want to betray her vows and pleaded with crusade to the Holy Lands, while Lucia, by now extremely ill, died.
In Palestine, the knight was taken prisoner and locked up in a cell. One night, Lucia appeared to him in a dream and told him of her death. When he woke up, Rolando found himself magically free at his beloved’s tomb and so copious were his tears that the seven fountains, dry since Lucia’s death, began gushing once more.
At once, Lucia was venerated as a saint, although the Church only officially recognised the miracle in 1508. After Lucia’s death, the convent was moved first to S. Andrea di Ozzano, then in the mid-13th century, into S. Cristina della Fondazza in Bologna. Today the fountains are dry and the original site of the Monastery of Stifonti is indicated by a small pillaster.
Since 1573, Lucia’s body has been kept in the small Church of S. Andrea, where there are also the shackles from Rolando’s imprisonment. Since the Middle Ages, the narrow gully which the young knight followed every day to see his beloved has been known as the Passo della Badessa.
The Sagra della Badessa (Abbess Festival) takes place during the last two weekends of May: the event is inspired to Middle Ages, including commemorations, menus and entertainment initiatives. The Badessa dinner is an event not to be missed.
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Last update: 28-01-2019