Le Camere del Seminario

THE CHAPEL

The present chapel, consecrated to Our Lady of Good Counsel, was built on the ancient chapel’s area, even if its direction has changed. The foundation stone was laid on 26th August 1902, while the blessing was officiated on 19th June 1906 by Alba’s Bishop Mons. Francesco Re. The chapel was designed by architect Giuseppe Gallo, and the construction was supervised by Lorenzo Viglino and Vincenzo Borsa.

The chapel is 20 meters (65,60 ft) long, 11,70 meters (38,38 ft) wide and 15,50 meters (50,85 ft) high. Moreover, three ribs, produced by round arches and external flying buttresses – for architectural safety purposes – form a vault. The facade is, for the most part, incorporated in one of the seminary’s wings, while on the other end the structure closes in a small apsis, which overlooks the seminary’s garden.

The architect’s aim was to enhance the harmonious mixture of ornamental components, which was possible thanks to the beauty of the marbles and their polychromies. Indeed, we can find 30 different types of marble (small fragments of which are kept at Alba’s Eusebio Museum). The most representative marbles are: Breccia di Viggiù, Verde di Susa, Varallo Polcevera, Rosso Belgio, Viale Asia, Rosa di Spagna, Rosso Verone and Sanguigno d’Africa.

The original tiles flooring (still visible in the sacristy) was replaced with a new marble flooring in the years 1961-1962. The double-arched and three-mullioned glass-windows were built in Germany and are characterized by Marian references. The ornamental pictorial section, on the other hand, was assigned to Fedele Finati, from Alba. Here again, as for the glass-windows, Marian references are numerous. Another ornamental characteristic is the high number of angels. First, we find them in the apsis’ upper part (also called “recess”): here, in semi-circle, it spreads a theory of 9 angels, dressed in wide hieratic garments, in worship.

Cappella Madonna del  Buon Consiglio(1) Cappella Madonna del  Buon Consiglio(2) Cappella Madonna del  Buon Consiglio(3) Cappella Madonna del  Buon Consiglio(4) Cappella Madonna del  Buon Consiglio(5) Cappella Madonna del  Buon Consiglio(6)

THE FRONT WALL: The front wall is dominated by the grand icon, with its golden-wood frame and Solomonic columns, that cut it up in a triptych shape. The artist’s name is professor Stura from Turin. Here, in the middle, we see Carlo Borromeo staring at Our Lady of Good Counsel, who is the seminary’s patron saint. On the right, we see St. Francesco di Sales, while on the left there is St. Filippo Neri. Under these three saints, in a series of four small archways, there are other four: St. Alfonso Maria de’ Liguori, St. Lorenzo Martire (Alba’s diocese’s patron saint), St. Luigi Gonzaga and St. Tommaso d’Aquino. On the same front wall, alongside the icon, we see two medallions which remind seminary students of two clerics’ examples: St. Stanislao Kostka and St. Giovanni Berchmans. Below the icon, we find a large section of floral decoration, at which center is a great cross bearing, on each arm’s end, symbols of the four evangelists: the angel, the lion, the ox and the eagle. In addition, above the icon, we find a medallion featuring the Holy Trinity.

A CURIOSITY: The grand icon is easily and completely movable: through it, you can catch sight of the so-called “recess”, that is the large hollow resulting from the interior upper part of the chapel’s apsis. Such recess contains a golden-wood votive niche which held different sculptures in different months: St. Giuseppe’s in March, Sacred Heart’s in June, the Virgin Mary’s in May, as well as during the Novena and the festivities for the Immaculate Conception.

THE WAY OF THE CROSS: The 14 Stations of the Cross are situated on the side walls in two sets of seven. On the walls, before each set, there are Latin writings framed just like the Stations’ paintings.

THE BEATITUDES: In the lunettes overhead the eight doors, above a shield supported by two angels, the eight beatitudes are written in gothic print. On each beatitude there is Christ’s monogram (X P – initials of Christ’s Greek name). It is the same monogram which stands out in the center of the chapel’s vault.

THE HIGH ALTAR: The high altar is rich in marbles: the tabernacle’s small posts are made of Eastern onyx with capitals in white Carrara marble. The Holy Table is a Rosa di Spagna marble slab, held up by small archways which posts are coral red, pillars in Busca alabaster and capitals in white Carrara marble. The tabernacle’s rear is made of white Swiss marble. The two main pillars at the altar’s sides are made of pink African marble. The base is made of pink Spanish marble, the small moldings in dark Breccia di Carrara and white Serravezza marble. The tabernacle has two small doors in cast iron showing an ear of wheat and grapes (Eucharist symbols), a radiant sun above them and St. Bernardino from Siena’s monogram: IHS, with a cross on top of the H.

THE WOODEN ALTAR AND THE AMBON: The current altar facing people is made of wood and it is the work of Prinotta Company from Mondovì: it was obtained – like the Ambon – by the previous balustrade of the sculptor Favini. The same artist had also made the pulpit with angels’ heads for the choir, the eight internal doors and the sundial above the front door.

VIRGIN MARY’S WOODEN SCULPTURE: It is an artistic wooden sculpture, 180 cm high (5 ft 10 in), a terracotta piece representing sister Maria Angelica of the Pie Discepole del Divin Maestro nuns and duplicated in wood by Ortisei’s artists (Val Gardena). In 1982, the seminary clerics voiced the idea for this sculpture: they gathered the funds for it, engaging friends and acquaintances. The sculpture arrived on 11th February 1982, even if it was officially inaugurated on 26th April 1983, by Mons. Fausto Vallainc (Alba’s Bishop from 1975 to 1986). The sculpture is currently located near the Ambon.

THE PIPE ORGAN: To redress the lack of a pipe organ, father Prospero Boella and Mons. Mario Mignone (music teachers, at that time) used the modern study organ of professor Silvio Gosio from Magliano Alfieri. To that, they added – with prior approval and reimbursement – St. Domenico’s old organ’s pipes. The job was entrusted to Vegezzi Bassi’s company from Centallo, who fabricated an electric-powered organ, with two keyboards, a rudder bar and 14 extensions. The organ was officially launched on November 20th, 1952 by Mons. Carlo Stoppa, Alba’s Bishop, and professor Angelo Surbone, Turin conservatory’s Headmaster. The organ was then inspected in 1979, when the console was moved to the presbytery. Its lower rear reads as follows: “Pange lingua gloriosi Corporis mysterium” (in the middle) and (at the sides) “Laudate Deum in cordis et organo”, “Laudate Dominum in tympano et choro”.

CONTACTS

The religious house “The Seminary” is located in the very heart of Alba city centre. It is only 10 minutes away from the railway station and it is also reachable by car.

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