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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Chiesa di San Remigio

I was a little bit late, and a little bit lost. I was walking through a section of Verbania that I didn't know, looking for a place I had never been before. In addition, it was all uphill, and the day was hot.

The road I was on came to a dead end at the top of the hill. There was a gate, a clearing, and this old church. I took one quick photo. I didn't try to enter. As I said, I was a little late, and actually a lot lost.


Now, I have stumbled onto information about that old church. And how I regret that I didn't stay longer, look around, go inside. I was at Chiesa di San Remigio, a Romanic-style oratory built in the 11th and 12th centuries. Yes. One thousand years ago. The front porch with its arched ceiling is new by comparison; it was added in the 16th century.

Had I ventured inside this is what I would have found. A church built entirely of square stones, all neatly arranged, with two naves of different lengths. It is assumed this is due to the position of the church on the rocky promitory where it sits. Inside I would have found cross vaulting, decorated semi-capitals, and frescoes dating from various ages, beginning with the early medieval era. In the lower apse there are images of Christ blessing a figure kneeling before him. This dates from the mid-eleventh century. And in the higher apse, a series of paintings from the thirteenth century depicts activities carried out in different seasons of the year.

Sigh...

If I had walked in there, not even knowing the age of the building or the paintings, but if I had walked in and discovered this, I would have considered it the luckiest of accidents. And I can't show you what's inside. You, like me, will have to wait until I have the opportunity to find San Remigio again. And I must remember, take the extra minute, take the chance, open the door...

The Chiesa di San Remigio sits just next to the grounds of the Villa San Remigio. This beautiful villa today houses the offices of the Province of Verbania, and the gardens are open by appointment only. The villa was built at the beginning of the twentieth century, by two lovers who created their dream garden here. But that is another story...

Chiesa di San Remigio and Villa San Remigio are on via San Remigio which is off of via M.Buonarroti in Verbania.

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