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Momo

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Places  of historical value  of artistic value around Milan (Italy): MomoMomo is an Italian town of nearly 2500 inhabitants in the province of Novara in Piedmont. It is located about 15 km north of Novara, geographically in the center of the provincial territory.
It includes the fractions Agnellengo, Alzate and Castelletto, independent municipalities until the beginning of the twentieth century. In the territory of the Municipality of Momo there are ten churches and four cemeteries still in use today.
It is crossed by the Agogna stream.

The area appears to have been inhabited already in pre-Roman times, by small scattered nuclei of Celtic origin.
The reorganization of agriculture in Roman times led to an increase in the population.
Momo is mentioned for the first time in a document from 892.
In the early Middle Ages the importance of Momo was due to the fact that it was located halfway between the two power poles Novara and San Giulio of Orta, right on the road called first "Settimia" and then "Francisca" which connected them.
In 1154 the castle and the village of Momo, then under the influence of Milan, were conquered and destroyed by Frederick Barbarossa. Momo then found itself involved in the struggle between the Visconti and the Marquis of Monferrato, which led to a new destruction of the castle.
It followed a long period under of domination of Milan over Momo, with the establishment of the Sforza fief of Momo, assigned to the Da Casate from 1466.
The feudal rights then passed, in 1534, to the Visconti of Fontaneto for a few decades, and then passed to the Pernati starting from 1580.
In the first half of the seventeenth century Momo was severely hit by the Manzonian plague, which led to the death of about half of its inhabitants.
At the beginning of the eighteenth century the Duchy of Milan, in that period under Austrian rule, had to give the Novarese to the Savoy.
In 1928 the municipalities of Agnellengo and Alzate were merged with that of Momo.

Momo is a small town, but it is very rich in cultural heritage and attractions for tourists interested in history and art.

  • Oratory of the Holy Trinity (larger picture): It is the main attraction of the town and in recent times it has acquired a growing and well-deserved reputation. The small church was probably built around the year 1000 by the Cluniac monks of one of the two Cluniac abbeys existing in the area at that time.
    Its interior is characterized by a cycle of frescoes that occupy the internal surfaces starting from the second span included and which was painted at the end of the fifteenth century, by the workshop of Cagnola. Frescoes of saints are also present on the outside, although they are now rather faded.
    Oratory of the Holy Trinity more in detail.

  • Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary: This is the parish church of Momo in strict sense. It too has very ancient origins, since the first version of the church was built in the twelfth century. Originally it was the chapel of the castle of Momo, so much so that it was referred to as the Church of Santa Maria in Castrum Veteris.
    Its current appearance, characterized by imaginative stuccos running along the walls, is dominated by the changes made in the Baroque era. In 1860 the chapel of Saints Zeno and Tecla was added, whose relics were moved from under the altar to carved and gilded wooden showcases placed in the chapel itself.
    Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary in detail.

  • St. Martin's Church (Fig. 2): It is located within the town of Momo in strict sense. It is mentioned for the first time in a document of 1347 and it too is therefore a very old church. It is thought that the oldest part of the building dates back to the eleventh century.
    At the end of the seventeenth century the church, still a Romanesque church from the late medieval period, was considerably increased in height and equipped with a barrel vault with lunettes still present today. Even today, on the outside, on the side walls, the remains of the hanging arches that were immediately under the roof in the original church are visible.
    To the south of the church, with the entrance from the presbytery, is the sacristy; the bell is under a pinnacle and is rung from the presbytery. In 1799 a squad of Cossacks under General Suvaroff that was lodged in this oratory, burned the doors and profaned it. Since then it remained closed until 1850.
    All the windows, in particular the one behind the altar and the one on the counter-façade, are equipped with elaborate stucco frames.
    The nave is single and its walls are marked by pilasters. Under the vault there is a double cornice that runs along the entire perimeter of the church, except for the back wall. In the last of the four spans into which the nave is divided, these cornices are enriched with stucco scrolls and garlands.
    There is no separate presbytery: the main altar (which is also the only altar present) is placed against the back wall. It is dominated by a large retable with architectural structure in polychrome marble which serves as a frame for an altarpiece depicting a Virgin with Child and saints.
    Unfortunately, the church is currently in a precarious state of conservation.
    The hope is that it will soon be restored as it deserves!

  • Church of Santa Maria Assunta: The Church of Santa Maria Assunta was originally the parish church of Castelletto, once a municipality in its own right and today a fraction of Momo. The church today is no longer a parish church, but a subsidiary church.
    It is already mentioned in a document from the mid-fourteenth century. Its current structure, however, is due to works carried out at the end of the seventeenth century. The interiors are characterized by a successful mix of Baroque stucco and painted decorations made in 1939.
    Church of Santa Maria Assunta in detail.

  • Oratory of Santa Maria of Linduno: The Oratory of Santa Maria of Linduno is located in the locality Linduno, a small group of farmhouses that are administratively part of the municipality of Momo and are located almost exactly halfway between Momo and Bellinzago Novarese. It is a country oratory, the first documentary evidence of which dates back to 1324. The apse and the back wall are entirely covered by frescoes painted in 1468 by the painter Luca di Campo and his workshop.
    Oratory of Santa Maria of Linduno in detail.

  • Church of San Lorenzo: It is located in the fraction Alzate. The current church was built in the years 1882-1883 with an orthogonal orientation with respect to that of the church it replaced. The project is due to Don Ercole Marietti. It is currently a parish church.
    The structure is classical, with the interior divided into three naves. Externally it is characterized by the fact that the facade is narrower than the body of the church and that the connection occurs through two rounded bodies (the one on the left corresponding to the baptistery).
    The main altar is dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament. There are also two side altars. The one on the left is dedicated to the Transit of St. Joseph (with a large altarpiece by Achille Lampugnani from 1893 depicting St. Joseph on his deathbed), the one on the right to the Virgin of the Rosary.
    Two large paintings by an unknown artist hang on the walls of the side aisles. The one on the left depicts the scene described in chapter 5 of the Apocalypse, the one on the right the Supper of Jesus with the Apostles.
    All the internal surfaces of the church are covered with frescoes in an approximately neo-Renaissance style painted by Luigi Morgari in 1905. On the vault of the central nave, in particular, two large frescoes depict the Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence and the Virgin Enthroned. Frescoes of other saints decorate the side vaults.
    Since parts of the previous church have been incorporated into the current one, on the back, towards the outside but in a protected position, there is still an Adoration of the Shepherds belonging to the previous church.

  • Church of the Saints Nazario and Celso (Fig. 4): It is the parish church of the fraction of Agnellengo. It was probably built towards the end of the 15th century, when the old church dedicated to the same saints, which was located south of the current town and of which very little is known, wasn't used any more. Unfortunately it was not possible to visit it.
    The façade with two orders is characterized by the presence of a protiro in front of the entrance and of two niches containing the statues of the two dedicated saints. On the left side there is an ossuary from the Baroque period.

  • Oratory of San Rocco: It located to the north west of Momo in proper sense and was built in the years 1630-1637 at the local hospital for plague patients. It is a very simple building but not without refinement. The facade, divided vertically into two unequal parts by a cornice, is enriched by two niches containing frescoes depicting San Rocco and San Sebastiano and by a fresco of a Virgin and Child in the center. There are three windows: two at the sides of the entrance equipped with a portal with a cherub head at the apex, and one, inside a beautiful frame depicting garlands with a cherub head, at the apex. The interior has a single hall, with a rectangular apse in a very large proportion. On its back wall it seems that in the past there was a Serliana, now walled up. The altar is dominated by the fake large baroque retable (actually stucco decoration applied directly to the back wall) enriched with scrolls and cherubs. It frames a large fresco depicting the Virgin and Child with the saints Andrew, Sebastian and Rocco.
    The oratory has recently been completely restored.

  • Umiliate Monastery and Church of San Bartolomeo: The former convent of San Bartolomeo and the church with the same dedication occupies a large area west of the parish church of Momo. The area is bounded by a wall up to 4.5m high. Originally, in medieval times, these were two adjacent but separate convents, one dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene and one dedicated to St. Bartholomew. In 1543 the nuns of the former moved to Novara and therefore the Convent of San Bartolomeo incorporated that of Santa Maria Maddalena.
    In 1782 also the nuns of the convent of San Bartolomeo moved to Novara and in 1805 the complex was divided up and sold to privates, with which most of the treasures contained therein were dispersed. Currently the complex cannot be visited, except for some courtyards where some objects from the monastery are still preserved. Not even the church of San Bartolomeo is accessible.

  • Castrum Vetus (Fig. 1): In Momo, intended as an administrative unit, there are three structures originally corresponding to castles. In Momo in strict sense there is the so-called castrum vetus, ie the remains of the ancient medieval castle of Momo. Originally it occupied a large area, so much so that the current parish church was also included, and was surrounded by a moat. It was destroyed, together with the village, a first time by Federico Barbarossa in 1154 and then a second time during the war (1357-1358) between the Visconti and the Marquis of Monferrato.
    In the following centuries it was owned alternately by many of the most important families in the area: Cattaneo, Barbavara, Della Porta, Tornielli, Visconti di Fontaneto, Pescatori, Boniperti, Caccia and Avogadro.
    Currently there remain sections of the boundary wall and a part of the actual castle, incorporated into residential buildings from various eras.

  • Castle of Agnellengo: It is characterized by the squat tower built in the fifteenth century by the Caccia di Mandello. The upper part of the tower houses a dovecote, while at the apex there is a small bell tower with a bell. On the tower there is still a coat of arms of the Natta d'Alfiano, who were the owners from 1779 to 1826.
    The tower is part of a quadrangular building which originally in medieval times (11th and 12th centuries) had been a monastery of the Umiliati. In 1314 the monastery moved to Momo and the structure was transformed into a castle.

  • Castle Castelletto: The existence of the castle, which today looks like an austere and vast quadrangular building located in a slightly raised area of the Castelletto fraction, is documented since the twelfth century.
    The structure has an irregular rectangular shape and includes a large 40m long courtyard in the center, born from the merger of two originally distinct courtyards: the northern agricultural one, and the southern one, fortified and inhabited. The castle, therefore, has always had the agricultural-housing and defensive functions in parallel.
    The wall structures are very interesting, in which it is possible to recognize the alternation of historical periods through the alternation of the different types of masonry.

  • Tower of San Pietro: It is located along the regional road 229. It is what remains of the bell tower of the church dedicated to St. Peter.
    It is a massive quadrangular construction dating back to the mid-eleventh century. The remaining part is about 8 meters high and is entirely built with pebbles and stones arranged horizontally, with roughly squared corner stones.


Categories: Places of historical value of artistic value


Momo
Further pictures of Momo in the section Photography
Momo (Novara, Italy): Last judgement in the Oratory of the Holy Trinity
Momo (Novara, Italy): Big pot full of the damned in the Oratory of the Holy Trinity
Momo (Novara, Italy): Apse of the Oratory of the Holy Trinity
Momo (Novara, Italy): Apse and first span of the nave of the Oratory of the Holy Trinity
Momo (Novara, Italy): Apostles on the wall of the apse of the Oratory of the Holy Trinity
Momo (Novara, Italy): Frescoes on the right wall of the Oratory of the Holy Trinity
Momo (Novara, Italy): Frescoes on the right wall of the first span of the Oratory of the Holy Trinity
Momo (Novara, Italy): Our Lady of the Nativity on the rear wall of the Oratory of the Holy Trinity
Momo (Novara, Italy): Christ brought to Herod and scourged in the Oratory of the Holy Trinity
Momo (Novara, Italy): Detail of the fresco  of the trinity in the Oratory of the Holy Trinity
Momo (Novara, Italy): Fresco of the Trasport of the Holy House of Loreto in the Oratory of the Holy Trinity
Momo (Novara, Italy): Christ mocked and Christ before Caiaphas in the Oratory of the Holy Trinity
Momo (Novara, Italy): Crucifixion and Deposition in the Oratory of the Holy Trinity
Momo (Novara, Italy): Assumption of Mary in the Oratory of the Holy Trinity
Momo (Novara, Italy): Sinners tormented by devils in the Oratory of the Holy Trinity
Momo (Novara, Italy): Three apostles on the wall of the apse of the Oratory of the Holy Trinity
Momo (Novara, Italy): Stucco decorations on the entrance arch of the presbytery of the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary
Momo (Novara, Italy): Choir of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta
Momo (Novara, Italy): Nursing Virgin in the Church of Santa Maria Assunta
Momo (Novara, Italy): Frescoes in the apsidal basin of the  Oratory of St. Mary of Linduno
Momo (Novara, Italy): Interior of the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary
Momo (Novara, Italy): Fresco of the Annunciation in the  Oratory of St. Mary of Linduno
Momo (Novara, Italy): Chapel of the Virgin of the Rosary in the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary
Momo (Novara, Italy): Interior of the St. Martin's Church
Momo (Novara, Italy): Castle of Castelletto seen from north
Momo (Novara, Italy): St. Gotthard between Saints Alexander and Tiburzius in the Oratory of Santa Maria of Linduno
Momo (Novara, Italy): Interior of the Oratory of Santa Maria of Linduno
Momo (Novara, Italy): Fake retable of the altar of the Oratory of San Rocco
Momo (Novara, Italy): Interiors of the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary
Momo (Novara, Italy): Presbytery and choir of the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary