Massino Visconti (NO) : chiese di San Michele e di San Salvatore

massino eremo

Storia del sito:
Forse già abitato dagli Insubri, i Romani vollero dedicare a Giove Massimo questo luogo, da cui sembra prese successivamente il nome. In seguito fu dominato dai Longobardi. La Corte di Massino passò a Ludovico II che nell’865 ne fece dono a sua moglie Angilberga. Ma negli anni seguenti all’877 la Corte passò a Liutvardo, vescovo di Vercelli che nell’882 la donò al monastero di San Gallo, in Svizzera. Nel 1134 il paese venne infeudato ai Visconti, la famiglia più importante che si insediò nel corso degli anni nell’antico borgo, tanto da rimanere in possesso dei Visconti e dei suoi rami collaterali fino al secolo XVIII. E’ anche per questo motivo che il nome dei Visconti appare tutt’ora nella titolazione del Comune. Il castello è di antica origine, ma ricostruito dal XVI secolo.
La chiesa parrocchiale, dedicata alla Purificazione della Vergine, citata nell’anno 887, ma ricostruita nel XVI e XVIII secolo, ha conservato affreschi cinquecenteschi purtroppo molto deteriorati, tranne quelli sulla volta che rappresentano i quattro Dottori della Chiesa con i simboli degli Evangelisti.

Storia e descrizione dei siti:
CHIESA DI SAN MICHELE
Della costruzione del secolo XI si conserva il campanile pendente. Nel corso dei secoli l’edificio subì varie modifiche, in particolare tra il Seicento e il Settecento, quando fu consolidato dopo un lungo periodo di abbandono causato probabilmente da una frana che lo danneggiò provocando anche l’inclinazione del campanile. Fino al 1585 vi era il fonte battesimale ed era affiancata dal cimitero.
Il CAMPANILE è datato agli anni tra il 1025 e il 1050, a pianta quadrata e a sei ripiani. Sulle sue pareti si aprono monofore e bifore di varia grandezza e il lato sud presenta un tipico capitello a stampella decorato con testa umana in bassorilievo.
All’interno della chiesa, sulle pareti della singolare abside quadrata, si può ammirare un ricco ciclo AFFRESCHI quattrocenteschi attribuiti alla bottega di Giovanni de Campo (attivo dal 1440 al 1483 circa): sulla parete sinistra, la teoria degli Apostoli e più in alto i profeti; al centro, la figura del Cristo Pantocratore circondato dai simboli dei quattro Evangelisti (Tetramorfo); ai lati le figure di san Michele Arcangelo e una Madonna del latte in trono; a sulla patrete destra sant’Agata, la Trinità e il martirio di san Lorenzo.

COMPLESSO E CHIESA DI SAN SALVATORE
In posizione isolata e panoramica, conserva alcuni resti dell’antico monastero eretto dai Benedettini intorno all’anno Mille, la chiesa e alcune cappelle di epoche diverse. L’edificio della chiesa denota una grande irregolarità architettonica causata dai continui rimaneggiamenti collegati alla forte pendenza del terreno su cui il complesso fu costruito. All’esterno della primitiva chiesa vennero edificate, tra il XII e il XIV secolo, tre cappelle o absidi da celebrazione, con i tetti di pietra poste su livelli diversi. Alle due inferiori si accede scendendo la “scala santa” addossata al lato sinistro della chiesa, mentre dalla mediana i monaci raggiungevano, attraverso un percorso coperto, le loro celle. Le cappelle erano dedicate a san Quirico, santa Margherita e santa Maria Maddalena.
Verso la fine del XV secolo, decaduta l’abbazia di Massino, giunsero sul San Salvatore i monaci Eremitani di Sant’Agostino che ampliarono il complesso rimanendovi fino al 1660. Essi vi fecero arrivare preziose reliquie e introdussero la devozione alla Madonna della Cintura (si narra che alla madre di Agostino, santa Monica, apparve in sogno la Vergine, vestita di una semplice veste, stretta ai fianchi da una cintura di cuoio e da ciò deriverebbe l’abito adottato dagli stessi Agostiniani), richiamando per secoli nel santuario le popolazioni del Vergante.
In seguito, con il passaggio del complesso alla parrocchia, ai monaci subentrarono gli eremiti: singolari e pittoresche figure di uomini che, appartati dal mondo, vivevano delle offerte e delle elemosine dei fedeli.
Anche la chiesa di San Salvatore attesta rimaneggiamenti e modifiche di epoche diverse, in origine era disposta nella direzione est-ovest, con una sola navata chiusa da un’abside con le pareti affrescate e dotate di tre porte; nell’architrave all’ingresso è scolpita la data del 1499, a testimonianza dell’epoca agostiniana. Ai primi decenni del Seicento si deve il rifacimento della facciata. Al 1690 risale invece la costruzione del campanile e al 1699 della sacrestia, come anche della nuova navata absidata (con orientamento nord-sud). Attualmente la chiesa ha una sola navata con abside perpendicolare alla navata e all’abside originarie.
La cappella più antica dei Benedettini, che costituisce l’abside originaria, conserva AFFRESCHI quattrocenteschi che Lancillotto dei Visconti feudatari di Massino fece realizzare da Giovanni De Campo (che lavorò anche nella chiesa di San Michele): un corteo degli Apostoli intorno al Cristo, racchiuso in una mandorla tricolore.
Altri affreschi nella cappella di sant’Uguccione; dipinti del XV secolo raffiguranti la beata Panacea, sant’Abbondio e la Crocifissione.

Descrizione dei ritrovamenti:
Frammento di lastra di gneiss scistoso con iscrizione funeraria di VALERIA (=CIL, V, 6637), età romana imperiale. Un’opera del 1654 (di attendibilità non controllabile) ricorda l’esistenza di un edificio quadrato dedicato a Giove, dentro il quale si trovavano l’ara marmorea del dio ed un sarcofago di marmo con l’iscrizione funeraria di VALERIA moglie di CAIUS CASSIUS (sembrerebbe essere l’iscrizione CIL, V, 6637; i muri dell’edificio e l’ara a Giove non sono conservati). (da http://www.sitbiella.it/novara/schede.php?scheda=631)

Informazioni:
Chiesa di San Michele in Piazza San Michele, tel. 0322 219117
Chiesa santuario di San Salvatore a circa 4 km (un’ora a piedi) dall’abitato, verso ovest in direzione dell’Alpe di Piana del Lino, sul Monte San Salvatore.

Links:
http://www.comune.massinovisconti.no.it/ComGuidaTuristica.asp
http://www.massinovproloco.it/

Bibliografia:
GRASSI V.; MANNI C., Lago Maggiore-Vergante: Storia, Paesaggio, Itinerari, Alberti Libraio-Editore Intra
— Percorsi Storia e Documenti Artistici del Novarese n. 22 antichi centri fra lago e provincia (Pr.di Novara Ediz.1998)

Fonti:
Info e fotografie dai siti sopra elencati.

Data compilazione scheda:
4 dicembre 2011 – aggiornamento maggio 2014

Nome del rilevatore e associazione di appartenenza:
Angela Crosta – G.A.Torinese

Massinos Michele1

massinosMichele 2

massinosSalvatore-abside

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