Places of interest: Abbeys and Churches
Cappella Madonna Della Pace
via Cominotti - 25033 Cologne
Chiesa di S. Michele
Via S. Michele, 17 – 25050 Ome
Chiesa Dei Ss. Gervasio E Protasio
Piazza Garibaldi - 25033 Cologne
Via Castello, 1 25030 Coccaglio BS Italia
+39 030 7243028
Visitable on request to the parish priest, tel. 030 724 3028
That Coccaglio was the administrative centre of the vast administrative ‘pagus’ set up on the left bank of the middle course of the River Oglio is definitively confirmed by the fact that, with the reorganisation of the Christian church in northern Italy in the mid-4th century, Coccaglio was made centre of the most important Christian baptismal church and the linchpin not only its ecclesiastical but also of the social and administrative hierarchy of the lion’s share of the ancient Roman pagus as the historical situation developed. The oldest and most prestigious churches, set up during the political and military chaos generated by the Barbarian invasions, replaced the pagus structure with the magnificent institutions which fostered the fusion of the various lineages which had taken shape in the Brescia area, shaped them into communities and promoted the formation first of rural communities and then of the town communes. A well-founded and documented tradition has it that the Gospels were first disseminated in the Brescia area at the beginning of the 3rd century by St Anatalone, Bishop of Milan, whose remains were found in Chiesa di San Fiorano sui Ronchi in Brescia.
The treasures of the ancient Coccaglio baptismal church diocese are of great beauty and value.
With the building of the Chiesa Arcipretale (1718), dedicated to the Virgin Mary’s nativity, the baptismal church diocese, also dedicated to the birth of the Virgin Mary, was rededicated to St John the Baptist.
Pieve di San Bartolomeo
Via Pieve Vecchia, Cazzago San Martino
The total absence of known documents makes retracing the history of the founding of this baptismal church impossible at present. Its having been named after St Bartholomew, the patron saint of travellers and pilgrims, would suggest that it may have been a hospice for the many people travelling the era's dangerous roads for religious or other reasons. There was certainly a Pieve di Bornato in 1058, when it was mentioned in a document by the Bishop of Brescia. In a further document dating to 1291 Pope Nicholas IV granted indulgence to the Chiesa di S. Bartolomeo on the occasion of a yearly festival devoted to the saint. Other documents dating to 1339 and 1343, relating to the paying of tithes, confirm the church’s vitality. It was only in the 15th century that the church finally passed into the hands of the parish after which it was no longer the reference point for a whole district but simply the church of the rural village of Bornato.
At the time of the pastoral visit of St Carlo Borromeo in 1580 there was still a large church with two naves, baptistery, bell tower and cemetery to the north of the church.
In the middle of the 17th century a new parish church was built in a more convenient position for the people of Bornato and this led to the baptismal church being abandoned, largely demolished and, in all likelihood, reduced to its current state. In this period the site’s cemetery function was amplified with the building of a great many chamber tombs and ossuaries.
The graveyard was moved into the plains, in the wake of Napoleon’s edict to this effect in the late 18th century, accelerating the abandonment of the site.
The itinerary proposed here for those wanting to visit Pieve di San Bartolomeo begins at the historic centre of Bornato in the direction of the castle and Villa Orlando. From here it crosses the historic lower castle road and continues to the Pieve church. From here it returns to the parish church to admire the frescoes which are also to be seen in the cemetery church. An iconographical exhibition has been set up in the Pieve church with panels explaining the various phases of the site's history.
In the parish church, and at the audio video guide rental points, totems with monitors have been set up showing videos in Italian and English relating to the themes of the itinerary. Numbered logistical waypoints have also been co-ordinated for the whole visit itinerary.
Pieve di San Bartolomeo
Via Pieve Vecchia
25046 Bornato di Cazzago San Martino
- Cazzago San Martino Tourist Office
Tel.: 030.7750750 int. 8
- Don Lorenzo Milani Civic Library
Tel. +39 030 72 54 371 Mob. +39 329 98 17 373
Pieve di Santa Maria di Pie' del Dosso
Via Santa Maria Vecchia 11 25064 Gussago BS Italia
Chiesa di Santa Maria, in Piè del Dosso di Gussago village on the Roman road between Val Trompia and Franciacorta, was once the primary civil and religious centre in Gussago and depended on the Benedictine monastery of Leno.
It is also known as Pieve dei Morti – church of the dead – because the bones of those who died in the plague of 1630 were buried here, as a plaque on its facade commemorates.
The Longobard presence in the area is visible in certain aspects of the building, especially certain slabs of stone in the Pieve’s ‘Mayorans pulpit’, as well as tombs, decor elements and a range of finds. Romanesque in origin, the church was modified in the 15th century when a Renaissance portal was added whose lintels feature coats of arms and banners supported by pilasters, capitals bearing acanthus leaf decorations and scrolls. The terracotta window decorations and external sills are interesting.
The church facade originally featured a pitched roof with a central oculus and lateral single light windows.
Dating to the 9th-10th centuries, the bell tower is square plan with a terracotta spire while the bell chamber has four arched single light windows. Inside the church has a single nave and four bays on transverse pointed arches resting on external buttresses.
The apse is polygonal and was built on an earlier semi-circular apse dating to the 9th-10th centuries conserving a cycle of 15th century frescoes deriving from the Foppa and Paolo da Cailina schools depicting the Virgin’s Assumption with two groups of apostles and, above them, four groups of angels playing musical instruments.
At the centre of the presbytery, behind the 18th century altar, there is a Polyptych of the Virgin of the Rosary with the fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary, by Luca Mombello.
The Pieve also conserves an incomplete sarcophagus of a high status warrior dating to the 8th century, called the Mayorans pulpit, with bas reliefs of Christian symbols and a knight symbolically crossing the threshold into the afterlife. The front plaque bears an inscription in capital letters read as MVIORANUS (the name of the plaque artisan or of the deceased) or MAVI ORANS, after which it has been named.
Restoration work from 1969 onwards has unearthed various frescoes including in the chapel to the left of the presbytery and the fine frescoes above the chapel itself, depicting three scenes of Bembo-esque inspiration: an Annunciation, a Nativity and an Adoration of the Magi. The two lower registers feature a series of votive paintings depicting saints, the Trinity, an Enthroned Virgin and episodes from the life of Blessed Simonino da Trento.
The painting cycle comprising the Virgin of Mercy sheltering a group of disciplines under her cloak with four sections around her depicting St Emilian, St Antoninus, St Lawrence and St Bernard of Chiaravalle is of particular interest.
On the opposite side, the 17th century chapel devoted to St Nicholas of Tolentino features frescoes attributable to Gian Giacomo della Rovere or Giovanni Mauro della Rovere, painted during Baroque era work on the church.
Santuario Madonna della Rosa
Via Santuario 25040 Monticelli Brusati BS
The sanctuary is located at the most panoramic point of the hill called Monte della Madonna. Legend has it that it was built on the site of the miraculous apparition of the Virgin Mary to a thirsty peasant to show him where he could find a water spring. A rose bush also appeared at the site.
The church’s architecture is similar to that of other 15th century buildings, with its vaulted rectangular presbytery, single nave with gable roof supported by transverse arches. The bell tower was added in the 16th century together with the prothyrum in front of the entrance and a chapel on the south side.
There are frescoes dating from the 15th to the 18th centuries inside. The finest of these is Virgin Mary Enthroned with Child and the Trinity painted in the last quarter of the 15th century and probably the result of a prestigious commission. It depicts the Trinity to the right together with the Virgin Mary and Child, a composition which is referred to iconographically as Mariolatric Quaternity. In 1833 the Austrian troops stationed there had to abandon the site because the well had run dry. Legend has it that the water returned once the soldiers had left.
Chiesa di Sant'Eufemia
Via Santa Eufemia 25030 ADRO BS Italia
Chiesa di Sant'Eufemia, a church built in the last decades of the 10th century, is just a short distance away from the town centre and within the cemetery area.
Its medieval features include some of the characteristics of its facade, the gable style of its roof and a now blocked up crossbow loop.
The early medieval church plan is also easily recognisable. It was oriented in an east-west direction with its facade facing west and its apse later transformed into east chapel.
In the late 11th-early 12th centuries the bell tower was added, now entirely plastered over and with a final section entirely rebuilt in the 1700s.
The demolished Romanesque panels are still visible on the four sides of the original base.
Over the 15th century the historic church was radically changed with the south wall being demolished and a new, larger building built orienting it on its current north-south axis and the former early medieval apse was thus made into a side chapel and baptismal font.
There are various paintings inside the church. Both the walls and the barrel vault in the presbytery were frescoed in the 14th century and a Christ Pantocrator with the four evangelists is visible in the vault and the twelve apostles on its two walls (six per side).
In the middle west bay a large 15th century fresco shows St Gotthard seated between St Roch and St Sebastian with two coats of arms of the Federici and Della Corte families also visible in the painting.
The painting cycle in the presbytery, attributed to Floriano Ferramola, an early 16th century Brescia painter, is of great artistic interest.
The cemetery in which Chiesa di Sant’Eufemia is located is unusual in that it still conserves stele and gravestones dating to the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Santuario Madonna della Neve
Via Carlo Cattaneo, 25030 Adro BS
It all began on Friday 8 July 1519 when a deaf mute shepherd boy from Adro called Gian Battista Baioni, son of Martino, returned to the town and told of his encounter with a mysterious lady dressed in white who had given him a message to pass on to his people.
The event had occurred at a place called La Cava, the quarry, as there was a great deal of sand to be found there. It was within the Adro town boundaries but neighbouring on Nigoline and Torbiato, one kilometre and a half from the parish church. The site was also called Oneto after its dense, luxuriant alder forest and plentiful springs.
The most significant testimony to the apparition is to be found in a letter sent from Venice on 3 October 1772 to the sanctuary custodian, a document drawn from a very old book which retraces earlier ‘esatti processi’.
The inhabitants of Adro believed the shepherd boy bearing the message right away. The boy’s disability had long been known to everyone and now he was speaking and hearing normally. He had learnt his ‘mother tongue’ directly from Mary.
They immediately resolved to build the sanctuary requested by the Virgin in the exact spot of the apparition. In 1520, a year after the apparition, the church had already been built.
On 19 December a decree drawn up by Francesco de Caperoni granted patronage over the church and nomination and presentation rights to the rector of the Curia for the canonical investiture of the church itself and the simple benefice connected with it. This right was reaffirmed in the rector investiture bull of Don Filippo Marzoli (1553) and Don Francesco Pontoglio (1611).
The church was west facing. Three windows provided light, two on the side walls and one, a little higher up, over the central door. This door opened up onto a small clearing while a second to the left opened onto the state road. There were two Adro town coats of arms in the church: ‘One in the choir and the other over the large door at the back of the church’, both of which were visible until the first decades of the 18th century. There were three altars: the high altar and two at the sides of the single nave. To the right of the choir there was: a small sacristy, a bell tower and the room of the hermit, the church custodian.
Cardinal Durante Duranti, Bishop of Brescia (1552-1558), conceded an indulgence of 100 days for each visit to the sanctuary. The indulgence decree, as master mason Andrea Porta testified, was inscribed ‘over the two lateral niches’ of the church and covered over with lime, like the two coats of arms of Adro town hall, by order of rector Don Francesco Zini (1711-1722). Nothing was said of the apparition but the granting of indulgence highlights the importance soon acquired by the little chapel.
Via Vittorio Veneto 3 25030 Coccaglio BS Italia
The oldest part of Coccaglio is its castle, built in the area of a castrum dating to the early years of Roman domination in Lombardy, of which the west tower has survived, in Piazza Torre Romana. The north side overlooking the provincial road features the ruins of the medieval castle with traces of its drawbridge. The largely intact medieval town developed around it, a maze of narrow streets and characteristic houses closely safeguarded by the Ministry of Environmental and Artistic Heritage. Alongside the castle entrance tower is Chiesa di S. Giovanni Battista, also known as the old Pieve church, built on an earlier religious building and consecrated in 1488. Over the centuries it has been restored many times, modifying its original appearance.
Church of Santa Maria in Favento
Via S. Maria 19 25030 Adro BS Italia
+39 030 7457841
Outside the village of Adro, just over a kilometre north-east of the village, where the Roman consular road to the Valle Canonica used to pass, there is the church of Santa Maria in Favento, the oldest in Adro.
The building, of modest size, was built around 1200 and preserves a pronaos with sixteenth-century frescoes including one dedicated to St. Christopher, protector of pilgrims.
The interior is simple and you can admire frescoes from the 15th and 16th centuries among which you can see the "Madonna with child", the "Annunciation" and the "Trinity" on the triumphal arch, "St. George and the dragon", of Byzantine taste and a cross of the Carolingian era.
It can be visited on request by contacting the parish (phone 0039 030 7457841).
Cluniac Monastery of San Pietro in Lamosa
Via Monastero, 5 - 25050 Provaglio d'Iseo
Located near Provaglio Iseo, the monastery of San Pietro in Lamosa is an excellent place for enjoying a beautiful view of the bogs of Sebino, which were declared a Nature Reserve in 1983 and can be explored on foot or by bicycle. The monastery is named after the “Lame”, the marshes that the Cluniac monks cleaned up using new agricultural techniques, after having been gifted the complex by two Lombard landowners in 1083. During the Middle Ages, the monastery was a pilgrimage destination and also a resting place for the merchants and travellers who trekked along the Franzacurta road that led from Brescia to Iseo. In 1536 the monastery was passed on to the Benedictine nuns of Santa Giulia in Brescia, who retained possession of it until the suppressions of the eighteenth century. It then became the property of the Bergomi-Bonini family, who gave the church to the parish of Provaglio in 1983. The recently restored monastery of San Pietro has regained its original appearance, with its mediaeval apse, bell tower and vast nave, which was extended in the mid-sixteenth century. The frescoes that adorn the church, some of which reveal the influences of Gambara, Foppa and Romanino, have also been partly salvaged. The original Romanesque lines are best seen from the outside, in the apses and splayed windows. The well-preserved Baroque chapel is located on the square in front of the church, which seems to rise magically from the Lame marshes behind it.
Via S. Stefano - 25038 Rovato (BS)
This complex is located in a fantastic position on the eastern slopes of Monte Orfano, in the municipality of Rovato. In 1449, two brothers from the congregation of the Servi di Maria (Servants of Mary) obtained land to build a convent and a church, which was completed in 1503. It soon became a pilgrimage destination, particularly during major festivals dedicated to the Virgin Mary, until 1772, when it was suppressed. It was only in 1963 that the Servi di Maria re-established a religious community within the complex, which also houses works of great artistic importance, including an Annunciation by Romanino (1485-1566). The convent has a cloister with perfect geometry. The simple lines of the columns and arches frame the central well, which is adorned with a refined wrought iron decoration.
The Convent of the Annunciata is open for guided tours.
from Tuesday to Saturday visits at 10.00 am and 3.00 pm
Reservation is compulsory, with indication of the number of participants, by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 030 7241093 or 389 8368219.
Cost of guided tour with Bellavista wine tasting: from € 25 per person
The Convent can accommodate groups of maximum 10 people for each group.
Notes for visitors: the use of a mask is compulsory throughout the visit. Visitors are requested to arrive on site approximately 10 minutes early.
Olivetan Abbey of San Nicola
Via Brescia, 83 - 25050 Rodengo Saiano
The Abbey of San Nicola, one of the most monumental religious buildings in Italy, was founded in the tenth century and flourished for a second time thanks to the Olivetani, who obtained possession of the Roden priory in 1446. In 1969, the complex – which was then the property of the State – was given over to use by religious practitioners, who returned it to its original purpose. This marked the beginning of a massive renovation that restored the church, the cloister from the late sixteenth century with its combined columns, the rustic fifteenth-century cloister, the refectory, the monumental gallery and various rooms that house masterpieces of the greatest exponents of art from the Brescia region, especially from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It houses a workshop for the restoration of books.
Parish Church of San Giorgio
Via Vittorio Emanuele, 18 25031 Capriolo Italia
The parish church of Capriolo, dedicated to Saint George, was built in XVII century and was restructured at the beginning of the XX century. Inside the church excellent artworks are stored: a Resurrection by Girolamo Romanino, a sixteenth-century painter from Brescia, Saint Gervasio and Protasio Martyrdom by Callisto Piazza and a fifteenth-century wood statue depicting the Old Maiden.
Pieve of Sant'Andrea
Via Pieve, 36 - 25049 Iseo
According to the legend, the bishop Saint Vigilio founded the Pieve in the VI century, perhaps above an ancient roman temple. The church was rebuilt in XII century with Langobardic shapes and in the XIX century architect Rodolfo Vantini refurnished the interior. Although the remakes, the bell tower keeps its original form and is described as “the most beautiful Romanesque bell Tower in Brescia”. Inside the Church are stored two interesting artworks by the XIX century painters Angelo Inganni and Francesco Hayez.
Romanesque Pieve of Santa Maria Maggiore
Via Castello - 25030 Erbusco
This Pieve was rebuilt in the XIII century in Romanesque – Gothic style with an apsis polygonal outside and circular inside made of white stones. Some grey sandstone fragments of the Pluteo give testimony of the ancient origin of the Church and capitals recall the Gothic architecture. The remarkable frescos inside the Church are attributed to painters influenced by Gentile da Fabriano, who was working in the city of Brescia during the same years.
Sanctuary of the Madonna dell'Avello
Via Cerezzata 25050 Ome Italia
Situated on the Cerezzata Hill, a suburb of Ome, the Shrine dated back to the XVI century. The Blessed Virgin Mary statue, made in local stone in considered “the most ancient Mather of God image in the land of Brescia” (Father Murachelli, 1956). The inner walls of the church are decorated with a precious circle of frescoes of the first half of the XVI century.
During the centuries, the Shrine has been transformed and expanded many times: in the XVIII, the orientation of the church was changed to host all the pilgrims arriving from every part of Brescia to celebrate the Nativity of the Virgin, September 8.
Sanctuary of the Madonna della Stella
Via Stella, 17 25060 Cellatica Italia
Erected in the XVI century, the Shrine conserves some remarkable works by Romanino and Pietro Marone. The work of Grazio Cossali on Saint Borromeo’s life has an historical importance: the painter personally met the Saint during the XVI century.