Let’s learn a little more about: Lavasina

For the historian Xavier Poli, and according to Ptolemy, Lavasina was formerly called ‘Blesinum’. And, although it may have been built on an ancient coastal site, the current hamlet of Lavasina dates back to the XIX century – named A Vasina (La Vasina). The Franciscan monastery and the Notre-Dame-des-Grâces church, located on the coast 7k north of Bastia, are from this era – with the exception of the modern cement bell tower. And, until the middle of the last century, a medieval tower of defense stood on the rock of Castellacciu. This village existed already five centuries before our era – and to the north, the districts of Pietriconi and Causardo can be found. 

The Franciscan convent and the sanctuary of Our Lady of Lavasina stand in the centre of Lavasina. Our Lady of Lavasina ( Santa Maria Natività), replaced a Maddonna delle Gracie chapel in the XVII century, on the foundations of an ancient Roman religious sanctuary. The building received a statue of the Virgin, at the end of the last century, with a cement bell tower. This is an important pilgrimage site (September 8th). Lavasina beach, is one of the most beautiful around that area. 

The southern districts of Crucicchioma and Butoju, are dominated by a large rock of volcanic origin – the rock of Castellacciu, whose name comes from the XIV century, when there was the castle belonging to Peter Avogari, Lord of Brandu – there was a tower on this rock since the XII century, which was transformed into a castle, protected by three surrounding walls.
In the XVI century, only the square tower is being used. Called ‘Tour de Castellacciu, then ‘Casa di a Contessa’ around 1595, during the reign of Brigidina De Gentile – to be finally named ‘Tour de Lavasina’. However, this tower completely disappeared in the middle of the XX century. 
Our Lady of the Graces has become a spiritual centre, sometimes called ‘the Lourdes of Corsica’. 

Legend has it, that in 1675, a miracle took place; a Franciscan tertiary from Bonifacio, Sister Marie-Agnes, either went on a pilgrimage to Lavasina, or took refuge from a storm, following a trip to Genoa in a sailboat, in order to consult a specialist. She suffered from paralysis of the legs and also nervous convulsions.
Housed in the chapel, she oiled her legs from the lamp that illuminated the picture of the Virgin, and healed instantly. The chapel was then erected by the Church, ‘Our Lady of the Graces’, with the painting and then in sanctuary – celebration on September 8th, 1677. 
In 1779, a procession imploring the end of catastrophic drought put an end to the scourge – a miracle, sung by the poet Giuseppe Giovanelli. 
This sanctuary has become a place of pilgrimage for the Corsicans. 



Image: Balades en Corse
Source: Wikipédia 

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