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Oggiono (Lecco, Italy): Church of Sant'Eufemia

Foto Church of Sant'Eufemia
Foto Church of Sant'Eufemia
Foto Church of Sant'Eufemia
Foto Church of Sant'Eufemia
Foto Church of Sant'Eufemia
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Places  of historical value  of landscape value around Milan (Italy): Church of Sant'EufemiaHISTORY
The present church was built in the early part of the seventeenth century. However, the site was occupied by a church probably already in the early Middle Ages. A church dedicated to Sant'Eufemia is documented from the end of the twelfth century.
A graffiti engraved on one of the frescoes inside the adjacent Baptistery of San Giovanni Battista attests that the construction works of the current version of the church began in the first decade of the seventeenth century. The building was later extended both from the side of the facade and from that of the presbytery.
The bell tower is more recent. Its construction began in 1793 and was completed only in the nineteenth century with the addition of the dome designed by Giuseppe Bovara.


The current façade is the result of the remodeling following the cyclone of 1898.
Divided horizontally into two orders by a trabeation in serizzo and vertically by four pilasters them well in serizzo, it has the peculiarity of having the most lateral parts of the walls not in line with those of the central part, but oblique at 45 degrees, because they coincide with the side walls of the apses of the first two chapels.
Overall the facade is very sober. It comprehends three entrances, with neaoclassical portals, a larger central one, dominated by a large stone panel engraved with the dedication, and two smaller lateral ones, above which there are two niches containing the statues of St. Peter and St. Paul.
The upper order houses three rectangular windows, of which the central one is real, while the others are walled.
At the apex a large triangular tympanum with an oculus at its center.
Bell tower
The lower part of the bell tower up to above the mullioned windows (which allowed a dating contemporary to the baptistery - XIth century) is what remains today of the ancient Romanesque building.
The upper part, with rather twisted and heavy lines, is due to the reconstruction of the end of the 18th century and rises on the trunk of the old bell tower.
Note that the south clock face is located in an elegant sandstone frame supported by two lions.
The cyclone of 1898 caused the spire to collapse on the underlying vault, destroying the fresco and the related ornaments.
The interior is a Latin cross. The single nave has a barrel vault with lunettes. The same the transept. The walls are separated from the ceiling by a wide trabeation that continues along the entire perimeter of the church, including the semicircular apse.
Although the church was built in the seventeenth century, its decorative apparatus is largely in the neoclassical style, when not even of later period, like the frescoes in the apse and the presbytery.
The large fresco of the vault above the transept cross represents the Triumph of the Eucharist (St. Michael the archangel surrounded by angels defeats the demons with the sword) and is the work of Carnelli, an artist from Bergamo.
In the barrel vault of the richly decorated nave, is frescoed the Ascension of Jesus. The upper part of this work (Jesus Christ and angels) is by Giuseppe Carsana, the lower part (Virgin, Apostles and other figures) is by G. Carnelli who restored it after the cyclone.
The medallions with the apostles Peter and Paul, the Evangelists and other frescoes in the nave are by G. Carsana.
The large and precious eighteenth-century organ present on the right wall in correspondence with the intersection with the transept is in clear neoclassical style.
It was accurately restored between 1987 and 1990. The choir and the confessional cupboards of the middle chapels are also from the 18th century.
The choir is neo-Renaissance, while the pulpits are even from the twentieth century.
The church has three chapels on each side along the nave, plus a chapel in the left arm of the transept.
The side chapels are enriched with balustrades and marble altars, each with two panels by P. Cattaneo depicting saints.
First chapel on the left: It is dedicated to Saint Ambrose. The paintings are by P. Cattaneo.
Second chapel on the left: Originally a private chapel of the Riva-Finoli family.
Third chapel on the left: In it there is a statue of St. Charles Borromeo. The two paintings by P. Cattaneo illustrate moments in the life of the Saint.
Chapel in the left arm of the transept: It is characterized by the large baroque wooden and stucco retable with four angels bearing the symbols of martyrdom on its top located above the altar. It was built to house a large crucifix in painted wood of the fifteenth century (Fig. 3). It must be said that the cross does not appear to be the original one nor the halo, while the crown of thorns could be. The ribs in evidence and the almost skeletal shape make the representation of Christ very dramatic. Also notice the nails fixed in the wrists instead of in the hands.
First chapel on the right: It is dedicated to St. Joseph. In particular, it houses a fresco of Andrea Appiani's early work representing the Marriage of the Blessed Virgin and of Saint Joseph.
The other paintings in the same chapel, with episodes from the life of Saint Joseph, are nineteenth-century works by the painter Paolo Cattaneo.
Second chapel on the right: It contains a baroque walnut sacristy piece of furniture used as a confessional, with a valuable Assunta carved in the central panel.
Third chapel on the right: (Fig. 2) It is dedicated to the Virgin of Consolation and houses a Renaissance fresco by Marco d'Oggiono (or of his workshop?) representing the Madonna enthroned with Child between Saint Euphemia (left) and Saint Catherine of Alexandria (right). The fresco comes from the previous church and, unfortunately, the face of the Virgin (which is therefore the result of a later repainting) was destroyed during the transfer to the current location. Also the lower part is not original.
The fresco is in the center of a large Baroque red marble retable. Above the fresco, in a niche of the retable, there is an eighteenth-century statue of St. Dominic. On the vault of the chapel the Virgin surrounded by angels.
Polyptych of Marco d'Oggiono
The most valuable artistic work in the church is represented by the polyptych placed on the left wall, in front of the organ.
It is composed of ten oil painted tables (it is assumed from the first decades of the sixteenth century). In central position there is the Assumption of the Virgin among the Apostles, dominated by the figure of God the Father in the act of placing a crown on Mary's head. The other eight panels are arranged on two orders. The upper ones include, from the left: Saint Ambrose, Saint Euphemia, Saint Apollonia (anciently recognized as Saint Agatha), Saint Stephen. In the lower order there are: St. Bernardino of Siena, St. Francis, St. Sebastian and San Rocco.
The work was commissioned by the very ancient family Riva-Finoli; subsequently Benedetto Riva donated it to the provost church.
The polyptych was dismembered in an unspecified period: on this occasion the original frame and some panels, including the predella, were unfortunately lost.
C. Cantù and in particular G. Longoni in 1858 cited the tables left in different places of the church. In 1873 Cesare Riva, found in the family archive the original drawing of the polyptych, allowing its reconstruction.
Presbytery and apse
The presbytery is located in a slightly raised position with respect to the nave and is separated from it by a marble balustrade.
On its left wall there is the martyrdom of Saint Euphemia, on the right the visit of Saint Peter to Saint Agatha in prison. On the other walls works by Paolo Cattaneo.
In the lunette of the apse basin, above, there is the Deposition by Giuseppe Carnelli (1899); in the barrel vault of the presbytery the Trinity.
The high altar is in neoclassical style and is surmounted by a small eight-column temple. It was built according to a design by the architect Bovara. On the sides two beautiful angels face each other, twentieth-century works by the sculptor Pompeo Marchesi.
In the center, behind the altar, the wooden Baroque choir houses a wooden statue of the Virgin of the same era.

Finally, it is worth mentioning the seventeenth-century canvas above the right side door, representing the Virgin with the Saints Bernardino, Andrea and Giacinto, erroneously attributed in the last century to Gaudenzio Ferrari.

Categories: Places of historical value of landscape value

Piazza della Chiesa, 0, 23848 Oggiono LC
Further pictures of Church of Sant'Eufemia in the section Photography
Oggiono (Lecco, Italy): Virgin with Child and saints by Marco d'Oggiono in the Church of Sant'Eufemia
Oggiono (Lecco, Italy): Triumph of the Eucharist on the vault of the nave of the Church of Sant'Eufemia
Oggiono (Lecco, Italy): Polyptych of Marco d'Oggiono in the Church of Sant'Eufemia
Oggiono (Lecco, Italy): Fresco of Marco d'Oggiono in the third right chapel of the Church of Sant'Eufemia
Oggiono (Lecco, Italy): Column of Sant'Eufemia and bell tower of the Church of Sant'Eufemia
Oggiono (Lecco, Italy): Polyptych of Marco d'Oggiono in the Church of Sant'Eufemia
Oggiono (Lecco, Italy): Vault of the nave of the Church of Sant'Eufemia
Oggiono (Lecco, Italy): Interior of the Church of Sant'Eufemia
Oggiono (Lecco, Italy): Chapel of the Virgin of Consolation in the Church of Sant'Eufemia