Chiesa vecchia di S. Maria in Belgirate
The ancient church of Belgirate, dedicated to St Mary, retains its original 11th-century Romanesque bell tower. It is preceded by an elegant 17th-century portico erected following the prescriptions of St Charles and has remnants of 15th-century frescoes on the façade, one of which depicts (or, rather, depicted) St Christopher in the most genuine Alpine tradition. The 16th-century interior is richly frescoed by unknown artists of the Piedmont and Lombard schools, perhaps even from the Luini circle.
Of particular interest are a crucifixion, portraits of Saints Rocco, Sebastian, Lucia, Apollonia, Defendente, Caterina and Cristina and prophets, recently skilfully restored by Guido Fiume. The depiction of Saint Uguccione (or Hugh) on the right side of the entrance, in the characteristic gesture of cutting a wheel of cheese, requires a special note.
This is the Christianisation of Lug, a Celtic solar deity who was depicted in the act of holding the sun, later ‘secularised’ into a wheel of cheese. Also very beautiful is the Baroque altar made of inlaid gilded wood and decorated with a splendid antependium. Also noteworthy are the frescoes on the sides of the main and side altars. An exemplary panel inside illustrates the historical-architectural development of the building and describes the results of recent excavations and research.
Address: Via IV Novembre 58 -28832 Belgirate (VB)
Tel: +39 0323 30416
December 23, 2022