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Since 1177, the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Amaseno, in an impressive and artistic cabinet built in 1700, has housed the miraculous relic of San Lorenzo Martyr. A glass vial contains a seemingly solid state-brown substance that is said to be the blood of the saint.

The mass takes about nine days to achieve total liquefaction, when the liquid moves freely in the bulb as soon as you move it. In the liquid state the substance is transparent to light, and lets you see a deposit on bottom of earth and ash, and a piece of skin that floats freely.

In 1600 they realized with astonishment that on August 10, the Holy Martyr Festival, the contents of the vial pass spontaneously from solid to liquid state. Probably the then bishop of Ferentino and Prince Colonna, feudal lord of Amaseno, informed Pope Paul V, who wanted to bring a few drops of “this prodigious blood” in the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica in Rome.

The magnificent silver reliquary containing the ampoule is attributed to the school of Bernini.



Traveller's Guide to Italy