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Fontanellato

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Fontanellato is a small town in the province of Parma, in northern Italy. It lies on the plains of the River Po near the A1 autostrada, about 20km west of Parma towards Piacenza.The town was built up in the 15th century around the moated and fortified house of the Sanvitale family, the Rocca Sanvitale, on the borders of the domain of the Dukes of Parma. The house was occupied by the family until 1951, when it was sold to the commune.The shrine to the Madonna del Rosario commemorates a succession of miracles beginning in 1628.During World War II a large brick building with stone facings and neo-classical features next to the Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin of the Holy Rosary, intended for an orphanage (but never used as such), was the Prisoner of War Camp PG 49. It is now a centre for neurological disorders. From here 600 Allied officers and men escaped, thanks to the decision by the Commandant, Colonel Eugenio Vicedomini, to open the gates the day after the Armistice of 8 September 1943. On 6 - 9 September 2013, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of this event a conference was held in the Rocca on prisoners of war in World War II, with other celebrations and commemorations, jointly by the town and the Monte San Martino Trust.
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