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Wonder  }  Place of worship

Romanesque Church of St. Peter and Paul

An ancient jewel to be saved


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Where is


Via Rimembranze, 3, 22030 Barni CO, Italia (0m s.l.m.)


What it is and where it is

One of the oldest churches in Vallassina, with the bell tower and apse recalling its Romanesque or even earlier origin. It has a white-plastered gabled facade. The wooden doorway leads into the hall, which at one point opens to the right into a small chapel frescoed with images of saints. But it is the frescoes in the apse that, despite the ravages of time, fascinate the visitor: God the Father blessing, a Crucifixion, pious women, and saints. Just among the saints, the figures of St. Anthony, patron of the agricultural world, and the very rare one of St. Lucius, patron of milkmen, stand out.

Why it is special

St. Peter and Paul's is a small rural church often surrounded by grazing animals. When you approach it, you see an almost bucolic image that inspires affection, helping us understand why it is so beloved by the people of Barnabas and beyond. One of the reasons for the local community's love for this place is the presence here of the remains of the Servant of God Don Biagio Verri, the apostle of the blackberries, and Don Bricchi, the herbalist priest. But there are not only pious men: right next door is the World War I war memorial, the destination of the November 4 celebrations.

Not to be missed

The church is opened on special occasions such as parish festivals, guided tours or religious celebrations. The most exciting event is on the day of the Patronal Feast when before the celebration of the patron saints a balloon hanging in the nave is set on fire to commemorate the martyrdom of the saints.

A bit of history

The Church of Saints Peter and Paul in Barni is one of the oldest in Vallassina, commissioned by the Benedictine monks of San Pietro al Monte in Civate. The bell tower and part of the apse area represent the oldest parts of the church, which can be dated to the 11th century and denote its Romanesque origin. According to scholars, the bell tower stood detached from the original apse by at least 9 meters. With later enlargements it was included in the building configuring itself as it is now. After some interventions, the church had to be reconsecrated, and the future St. Charles Borromeo intervened for the occasion.


One of the oldest elements is the bell tower: built between 1025 and 1050. It consists of 4 orders bordered by hanging arches. The first has a slit, the second is blind, and the third and fourth have mullioned windows. The bells are also veterans: the smallest has been in service since 1420 and the largest since 1525, and both can claim to be among the oldest in the entire Lombardy area.

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A Romanesque jewel located at the side of the village and overlooking the valley of Barni. History and art in a combination to be enhanced.

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