Wonder  }  Place of worship

Parish church of San Martino in Palazzo Pignano

In the beautiful Romanesque parish church surrounded by cultivated fields, history is told by terracotta bricks and archaeological remains

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Where is


Piazzale Chiesa, 26020 Palazzo Pignano CR, Italia (0m s.l.m.)


What is it and where is the Pieve di San Martino

The beautiful Pieve di San Martino stands outin the Palazzo Pignano countryside. It has a double-sloped gabled façade with a small prothyrum (a barely noticeable portico) protecting the door, which also extends over the rose window. Above the door, on the left, is a fragment with a two peacocks, material reused from the ancient parish church or perhaps from the adjacent Roman villa. The church ends with a single apse. It is a very old parish church, and its stones are what tell its story.

Why it is special: archaeology in the church

The interior is really exciting, precisely because of its simplicity: also of exposed brick, with three naves. The nave is covered by a truss roof, but it is the right aisle that is surprising: the pavement gives way to an archaeological excavation that has uncovered what remains of the early basilica. On the apse and throughout the church, traces of frescoes from various periods can be seen.

Don't miss: the ancient capitals and the terracotta Lamentations.

The capitals may look strange: they are smaller than the pillars. They are one of the most remarkable details because they are very old: they come from the ancient church and that is why they are not the right size. In addition, they are also very beautiful, decorated with plant and animal motifs, vine shoots, lions, lambs. Before leaving, the beautiful Renaissance terracotta Lamentation by Agostino de Fondulis is worth a stop, with its windswept robes and dramatically expressive faces.

A bit of history

The church dates from the 11th century but was built on a 5th-century basilica and was an important religious center for centuries. Profoundly altered by various renovations, it was restored to its Romanesque forms in the 1560s. The Lamentation is from 1510.

Curiosity: a look at the village of Palazzo Pignano

Palazzo Pignano is a truly curious village. It appears lost in the countryside but offers treasures. In addition to the beautiful parish church are the remains of a Roman villa that can only be visited by appointment, but mosaic floors can be glimpsed from the fence. Also worth a stop is Villa Marazzi, a 16th-century building with an interesting tower from an earlier period and a beautiful rustic courtyard with extremely elaborate terracotta decorations.

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Patrizia Iome

A hidden gem in the Cremasque countryside, worth visiting!


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