The complex, consisting of a church and a hostel for pilgrims, is already mentioned in 1168 in a bull of Pope Alexander III. In 1200 it is mentioned a “domus nova” of the hostel, perhaps following the arrival of the saint’s relics. Around 1400s there were a remodelling and in 1473 the sepulchral temple was commissioned to Matteo Civitali. During the 17th century the sacred building was modified again; the marble temple that actually houses the relics of San Pellegrino and San Bianco (probably a lay), was walled up in the choir. In the 16th century the fame of San Pellegrino and his monument attracted a multitude of people, so much that it was also printed a legendary text on the life and miracles of the saint.

It is said, that San Pellegrino is the son of Roman king of Scotland and his wife Plantula. He accomplishes miracles since the day he is baptized. After a childhood of penance, he renounces the succession of the kingdom and he sets out for the Holy Land, accompanied by a band of thieves whom he had miraculously converted. Back in Italy, he arrives in the mountains of Garfagnana where he takes a cave as his home and he is visited by wild animals which became his friends. Many years later, he sees a place suitable for penance and he goes there, taking refuge in a hollow tree. At the age of over 97, San Pellegrino writes his life in a tree bark, and then dies. Two spouses coming from Modena, warned in a dream by an angel, find his body as if he was alive, guarded by a great number of animals. Tuscany and Emilia’s bishops and people rush to the place, and a dispute arises between the Emilians who would like to bring the Saint to the plain and the Tuscans who claim him, having died in their lands. The body is placed on a coffin pulled by two indomitable bulls, one Tuscan and other Emilian, who stop at a place called “termen Salon.” Here stands a basilica in honor of San Pellegrino, whose dedication takes place on 1st August 643. Many miracles happen in this place, which is honored by popes and emperors. Then a hospice was built to welcome those who came to venerate the Saint. So far the legend.

In reality it is believed that San Pellegrino’s hospice took its title from San Pellegrino d’Auxerre, a French bishop saint, to whom many hospitals were named in the Middle Age for Christian charity along the great lines of Italian communication. It is still opened the problem of Saint’s relics, of which we only know from the 2nd half of the 13th century.


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