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Ponderano (Biella)- Church of St. Lawrence Martyr

Foto Church of St. Lawrence Martyr -  of historical value  of artistic value
Foto Church of St. Lawrence Martyr -  of historical value  of artistic value
Foto Church of St. Lawrence Martyr -  of historical value  of artistic value
Foto Church of St. Lawrence Martyr -  of historical value  of artistic value
Foto Church of St. Lawrence Martyr -  of historical value  of artistic value
Show to visit in the Biella area:
Places  of historical value  of artistic value in the Biella area: Church of St. Lawrence MartyrThe parish church of St. Lawrence Martyr ("San Lorenzo Martire"), which stands in the center of the town, amazes the visitor for the wealth of works of art and decorations it contains and is certainly worth a visit.

The various sources differ as to when the present church was built. In fact there are no documents that bear an exact date. Someone indicates as the period of construction that across the fifteenth and the sixteenth century, someone else the seventeenth century.
What is certain is that it was built in place of a previous Romanesque church of the twelfth which was partly destroyed by a great fire that broke out in 1409 and also destroyed the castle that was then present and a large part of the town.
The bell tower, leaning against the church on the left, on the other hand, is known to have been built between 1657 and 1660, after the previous one had collapsed. The fact that the lower part is still in Romanesque style suggests that what remained of the previous bell tower or one of the towers of the castle that was destroyed in 1409 was used as base for the new bell tower.
Over the centuries the church underwent various changes and extensions. Between 1680 and 1681 the chapel of the Rosary (the large square-based structure on the left side) was enlarged to a design by the master builder Pietro di Mongrando. Around the beginning of the 18th century the nave of the church was enlarged and the facade was rebuilt.

The church has a three-nave structure. Outside the right side is regular and marked by pilasters reflecting the internal division into spans. The left side, on the contrary, is made irregular by the presence of additional bodies (corresponding to chapels), even of very large dimensions in proportion to the central body of the church, and of the bell tower.
The current Baroque facade in exposed brick was built in the eighteenth century. With two orders, it is marked vertically by double pilasters and horizontally by a triple cornice between the two orders. There are three entrances, one main central and two lateral ones. Above the latter there are, in the lower order, two rectangular windows. Above the central one, in the upper order, there is a square oculus, but with rounded corners and concave sides and rotated by 45 degrees.
Note above it what was perhaps a frame intended to house a plaque.
In the apical position there is a large curved pediment.
Noteworthy the central door in walnut sculpted by Giovanni Lorenzo Flecchia in 1751.
The facade is located in a raised position with respect to the square in front of it and can be reached through an elegant stone staircase built in 1818.

The interior of the church is divided into three naves, separated by two lines of five granite columns with a circular section and a Tuscan-style base and capital. The columns support round arches surrounded by Renaissance terracotta bas-reliefs. A terracotta cornice from the same period is also present just below the point of junction between the barrel vault and the vertical parts.
The vault is decorated with fake stucco frames (actually only painted) to divide the surface into panels of various shapes. In the center a large mixtilinear frame (also simulated) supported by angels, inside which is depicted the Assumption of the Virgin supported by angels and venerated by the saints patron of the town St. Lawrence, St. Mauro, St. Sebastian.
The decorations of the vault and of other internal surfaces are from the end of the nineteenth century and were paintd by Francesco Pozzo and Ugo Nelva.

The church has three lateral chapels on each side.
Starting from the entrance, on the left:

  • Chapel of the Virgin of Graces: It is also used as a baptismal font. The altarpiece (Fig. 5) is a table attributed to Boniforte Oldoni from the mid-sixteenth century and depicts the Virgin and Child between the Saints Lawrence and Sebastian.

  • Chapel of the Virgin of the Rosary: It is larger than the other chapels, so much that the vault is equipped with a lantern to improve the lighting.
    The polychrome marble altar from the first half of the nineteenth century is dominated by an imposing wooden retable in Baroque style built in 1715 by Carlo Francesco Aureggio (Fig. 3). Of carved and gilded wood and practically two-tone (green and gold), it has a curious three-order structure that somehow makes it look like a church with a central plan. At the center of the first order (placed in turn above a base decorated with cherub heads and bas-reliefs depicting episodes from the life of Jesus) a large niche, accompanied on both sides by bas-reliefs with episodes from the life of Christ and with a statue of the Virgin with Child inside. At the center of the second order, three gilded wooden statues depicting the Virgin crowned by Christ and God the Father.
    The first and second orders are vertically marked by twisted columns wrapped in golden shoots. At all levels there are also putti and cherub heads.

  • Chapel of the Virgin of Oropa (Fig. 4): The chapel is recent, because it was only built in 1959. Its peculiarity, however, is represented by the frescoes that were discovered when the wall was was broken down to build it. For this reason the central part of these frescoes has been lost, because it corresponded to the part of the wall the demolition of which led to the their discovery. These frescoes were painted by Gaspare da Ponderano (therefore between the second half of the fifteenth and the first half of the sixteenth century). In the left sector there is a Virgin with Child and angels crowned by God the Father. In the right sector there is St. Bernard.

  • Sulla destra:
  • Chapel of the Saints Julius and Defendente

  • Chapel of San Mauro

  • Suffrage and Sacred Heart Chapel: The altar, located not on the back wall but on the left one, is dominated by a large wooden retable in Baroque style, sculpted by Giovanni Vaglio di Pettinengo and Giovanni Gaspare Chiorino in 1691 and decorated by Bartolomeo Defabianis di Zumaglia. The retable, of architectural structure, includes a base decorated with gilded reliefs with a floral theme on which two heterogeneous pairs of columns stand, in which the external ones are twisted column decorated with branches, while the innermost ones consist of two superimposed plastic representations, the lower one of a soul in the flames of the purgatory, the upper one of a putto. The columns support a typically baroque pediment with window and curled gables.

The presbytery of the church is rectanguar and very deep. The great high altar in polychrome marble was built by Carlo Domenico Roncorone from Arzo (Switzerland) in 1797.
The lower part of the walls is occupied by the choir stalls, built by Giuseppe and Giovanni Lorenzo Chiorino in the first half of the eighteenth century and restored in 2019.
On the sides of the main altar are painted four round frames that contain the symbols of the four Evangelists, and in the center another larger one containing the figure of the Good Shepherd.
On the back wall there is an early seventeenth century altarpiece depicting a Deposition with Saints Sebastian, Agata, Lucia and Lawrence. It is framed by a richly decorated gilded wooden retable sculpted by Bartolomeo Termine in the second half of the seventeenth century.
In 1983 a painted and gilded wooden architrave was placed above the entrance to the presbytery, in the center of which a large wooden Crucifix by Gaspare Chiorino di Ponderano from 1681 rises. On the sides of it two reliquary statues from 1747 depicting the martyrs Giusto and Vittoria.

Also of note is the pulpit, from the seventeenth century and remained unfinished, and the choir in the counter-fa├žade, which houses a recently restored nineteenth-century organ.

The choir stalls, the retable on the back wall of the presbytery and the architrave above its entrance come from the church of the Confraternity of San Giovanni di Ponderano.

Categories: Places of historical value of artistic value

Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi, 10, 13875 Ponderano BI
Church of St. Lawrence Martyr: Further pictures in the section Photography
Ponderano (Biella, Italy): Church of St. Lawrence Martyr
Ponderano (Biella, Italy): Retable of the Chapel of the Suffrage in the Church of St. Lawrence Martyr
Ponderano (Biella, Italy): Retable on the back wall of the apse of the Church of St. Lawrence Martyr
Ponderano (Biella, Italy): Ceiling of the nave of the Church of St. Lawrence Martyr
Ponderano (Biella, Italy): Altar of the Virgin of the Rosary in the Church of St. Lawrence Martyr
Ponderano (Biella, Italy): Interior of the Church of St. Lawrence Martyr
Ponderano (Biella, Italy): Retable of the altar of the Virgin of the Rosary in the Church of St. Lawrence Martyr
Ponderano (Biella, Italy): Presbytery of the Church of St. Lawrence Martyr