In the seventeenth century, Santa Vittoria’s reality gravitated around the important Farfense Sanctuary and its important monastery. Farfa’s administration, Cardinal Montalto, was about to join Farfa to the Cassino congregation. However, it did not meet the favor of the monks who lived in Piceno. Because of this defeat, the churches annexed to the monasteries of Force, Rotella, Montedinove and Santa Vittoria were turned into Collegiate.
To perform the work materially, Pietro Augustoni, originally from Como and the favorite architect of Pope Pius VI, was called under the technical direction of Mr. Domenico Fontana, in the decade of 1783-1793. The result was the realization of one of the most monumental churches of the Marche, with beautiful prospects, and second in size, in our province, only at the Duomo di Fermo. In the afternoon of the same day when he was open to worship and blessed, the Sarcophagus was transposed with the Holy Rites of Victory.
Neoclassical, it extends inside for 47 m and in a 13 m width along the main body. It then extends to a total extension of 27 m at the two lateral chapels of the transept called the SS. Sacramento and the Virgin of the Rosary. The Latin cross, the side walls and the transepts overlook the 16 niches hosting as many ornamental statues in the “plaster of Monte Leone di Marina”, representing the Saints and Apostles. The “Pale Altar” represent a “Crucifixion” (Tav.1), a “Seven-Sword-Saints Madonna” (Table 2), the “Saint John Predicting the Fall of Christ in the Desert,” and “The Dispute of Jesus with doctors in the temple “(Table 3). In the chapel of the right transept is the “Madonna of the Rosary and Saints”; in the left one there is the altarpiece “Angels Choir” (Table 4). Finally there is a canvas to which the santavittoriesi are very devoted (Table 5), depicting the three characters of the Holy Family.
The altar is worthy where the statue of the Redeemer is placed in the center, in a niche protected by a glass. It overlooks a small painting depicting “The Annunciation of Mary” (Table 6). On the left side of the Presbytery there is a Renaissance walled tabernacle inside which is preserved the Holy Oil.
Another monumental painting is “The Last Supper of Jesus with the Apostles”, placed above the Choir and made by the artist Giuseppe Mistichelli in 1790.
The crypt that houses the sarcophagus containing the relics of V. M. S. Vittoria is three naves. On the lateral sides and at the center of each of the four arches that delimit them are as many oval shaped niches, bordered by high-reliefs with floral motifs. Within each niche are the statues that represent the four cardinal virtues: Justice, Prudence, Fortress, and Temperance. At the center of the crypt lies the solitary polychrome marble altar, the work of Sebastiano Ricci. The whole simulacrum of the Holy One dominates, placed in a niche over the sarcophagus. In the back part of the altar are the names of munificent benefactors and of those who contributed over time to the frequent restorations of the crypt.
Originally, the sarcophagus did not have the cover that we can see today, but a simple flat slab of marble. The present cover puts on the base a frame on whose faces are carved angel heads with wings explained. The top of the pyramidal shape is overlaid, representing the martyrdom of the Basilica in the bas-relief, the Trebula castle freed from the dragon, and the frontal limbs and the Redeemer. The base is dotted with mostly conical drilling, only to be attributed to the popular devotion that over time has produced them with small pointed instruments in order to pick up the marble powder of the precious Ark. This dust has for centuries been subject to veneration by the people and used to ask thanks to the Holy Father in moments of need.