According to old tales, it was the Patron Saint of Sorrento himself to pay the work commissioned by the Sorrento people after the sack of the town made by Saracens in 1558.
On June 13th 1558, Sorrento was invaded by Saracen pirates who, besides devastating the town, killed or raped so many inhabitants who were partly released only after the payment of conspicuous ransoms.
People who survived attributed the fact they managed to escape such a terrible experience to the miraculous protective intervention by St.Antonino, to whom they decided to express, for this reason, once more and solemnly, their devotion.
In order to make their gratefulness tangible, therefore, though not having great financial resources, the inhabitants of Sorrento commissioned the building of a silver statue which could represent the aspect of the Patron Saint and replace the one raided and melted by the Saracens themselves on the occasion of their invasion.
Taken by the enthusiasm to build the work, the Sorrento people, though not managing to collect the sum necessary to pay the work, went to a Neapolitan artist (Scipio di Costantio) who was considered as one of the cleverest at the time. To him they gave the fruits of a collection as a down payment, undertaking to pay the whole sum of money afterwards.
Despite the ambitious hopes, nevertheless, it was really difficult to raise all the money.
This did not distract the Sorrento people from their purpose, and it was for this reason that the inhabitants of the Coast themselves sent the artist a model which could allow the making of the work.
According to tales, a short time later, the same artist received the visit of a monk who had the same aspect of the one portrayed in the drawings, and it was this monk who gave the goldsmith the missing sum to complete the payment of the statue, by giving a bag full of money.
All this, yet, happened without the knowledge of the Sorrento people.
In the meantime, satisfied with his financial claims, the master goldsmith made the statue nobody hurried to withdraw.
Only after some time, the inhabitants of Sorrento themselves, by making efforts which were even higher than their capacities, managed to gather a sum which was considered as able to satisfy, at least partly, the request of the artist they decided to go back to.
It is easy to imagine the amazement and the surprise which seized them when they learnt what had happened and understood that it had been right St. Antonino who had revealed himself and that, in this way, the Saint had both shown his affection towards people from Sorrento and understood their devotion to him.
That is why, wishing to show further their affection towards St. Antonino and to leave a tangible trace of the prodigy, the Sorrento inhabitants commissioned the making of a bag (of course silver, too) which was placed at the feet of the statue.
The remaining part of the collected money was used to decorate further the Basilica consecrated to the Patron Saint and for charitable works.
It was 1564. Since the date of the devastation of Sorrento six years had passed.
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Firmato - 05/01/2019