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Carpignano Sesia

Foto Carpignano Sesia
Foto Carpignano Sesia
Foto Carpignano Sesia
Foto Carpignano Sesia
Foto Carpignano Sesia
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Places  of historical value  of artistic value around Milan (Italy): Carpignano SesiaAmong the towns around Novara Carpignano Sesia deserves a special mention, because it contains various attractions of artistic and historical value of different kind and of different epochs.

The current toponym of the village probably derives from the Latin form Calpinianum, where the ending -anum would indicate a reference to a landed property.
The first document containing reference to Carpignano dates back to the second half of the 10th century. In it he explicitly mentions the castle of Carpignano, which would come to be, at least in its first original version, dating back to the first half of the tenth century. Placed on a slightly raised area, it had a roughly ring shape and was surrounded by a moat full of water. Access was originally unique, towards the east. Additional accesses were made only recently, after the moat had been emptied.
In 1140 (or 1141) the Church of San Pietro was assigned to the Cluniac Order, specifically to the Priory of Castelletto Cervo. In fact, from then on, for about a century, Carpignano was practically almost completely controlled by the Cluniacs, since they owned the majority of the churches in the town and with them also all the land that corresponded to them. Subsequently, however, the order went into decline.
In the thirteenth century Carpignano was the base of one of the branches of the Tornielli family, involved in the struggle between the Ghibellines (to which the Torniellis belonged) and the Guelphs. The Ghibelline faction returned to dominance in Novara under Emperor Henry VII in 1310.
In the fourteenth century Carpignano and the whole Novara area were involved in the struggle between the Visconti the Marquis of Monferrato, Giovanni II Paleologo.
As if the devastations of the war and the harassment by various lords were not enough, in 1362 the area was hit by the plague and in 1364 by locusts.
Starting from the early 70s of the fifteenth century, Carpignano and the Novara area passed under the Visconti family of Milan. In 1449 near Carpignano a tough battle took place between the Visconti and the Savoy.
The first decades of the sixteenth century saw the entire Po Valley bloodied by the war between the Spanish and the French for the control over Italy. In 1522 Carpignano and the neighboring Sizzano, Ghemme and Briona were sacked by the Swiss led by Francesco dal Pozzo and Filiberto Ferrero Fieschi from Candelo.
In 1538 Charles V granted the fief of Novara, including Carpigano, to Pier Luigi Farnese.
Having entered the orbit of Spain, the Milanese, and therefore also the Novara area, remained in it until the war of the Spanish succession at the beginning of the eighteenth century.
in December 1599, the Regia Ducale Camera of Milan sold the fiefdom including Carpignano to Gerolamo Piatti, who in 1617 was awarded the title of count. The Piatti counts held the fiefdom until the mid-18th century.
In 1611 Philip III of Spain granted Count Gerolamo Piatti to have a weekly market held in Carpignano, which is still held today. In the eighteenth century it was flanked by a market for livestock and related feed.
In 1738 the Novarese, and with it Carpignano, passed from the control of Austria to that of the Kingdom of Sardinia (ie of the Savoy). The passage of the Novarese from Lombardy to Piedmont is therefore quite recent.
Before being annexed to the Savoy kingdom, however, the Novarese had time to experiment with some of the enlightened reforms promoted by the Habsburg Empire, in particular the new measurement of all properties promoted by Emperor Charles VI starting from 1720.
On 7 September 1800 Carpignano and the Novara area became part of the Napoleonic second Cisalpine Republic and, subsequently, in 1805 of the newborn Kingdom of Italy wanted by Napoleon.
For more details see the page The History of Carpignano Sesia on the website of the Municipality of Carpignano.

Although Carpignano Sesia is a small town, little more than a village, there are many tourist attractions in it.

  • Ricetto (Fig. 1, 2): Also known as "Castle", it corresponds to the oldest part of the town, having been built in the first half of the 10th century. The term ricetto refers to a fortified part of a village, where the population could take refuge in case of emergencies. Placed in a slightly raised area the ricetto had a roughly ring shape and was surrounded by a moat full of water. As mentioned, it originally had a single access, to the east. The additional accesses date back to much more recent times, after the moat was emptied at the end of the nineteenth century. Once there was also a ravelin (independent fortification generally placed to protect a door of a major fortification), in correspondence with the original entrance, where today there is a metal canopy built in 1905 for the cocoon market.
    The main access is on Castello street, a street that crosses the ricetto from side to side dividing it into two parts: the northern one, formerly communitarian and subsequently divided into private properties, and the southern one, including the St. Peter's Church and the buildings of the former Cluniac monastery.
    Although less large and less preserved than the more famous one in Candelo, the ricetto of Carpignano Sesia is still very interesting and has many ancient buildings from the medieval era. Inside the ricetto there is the house that belonged to the painter Giuseppe Ajmone, a native of Carpignano. The house is embellished with two pointed arch windows with terracotta frames.
    On the central street of the ricetto there is also the Wine cellar of the Press, inside which there is a monumental weight winw press built in 1575 using a 13 meter long tree trunk. Used until the early twentieth century, it now belongs to the Perego Pinzio Lavagnetto retirement home. Its perfect state of conservation and exceptional dimensions make it one of the most valuable examples of press in Piedmont. In the same room there are also tools for winemaking and some large barrels from the nineteenth century.

  • St. Peter's Church (Fig. 3, 4): It is the most important historical and artistic monument of Carpignano. Despite its small size, it should not be confused with the late medieval rural oratories widespread in the Novara countryside. It is in fact a real church, as evidenced by its position (in the center of the ricetto, ie the oldest part of the town), its basilica structure with three naves, the time in which it was built (the eleventh century ) and the artistic quality of the frescoes in the apse, of considerable importance.
    St. Peter's Church in detail.

  • Parish Church of Santa Maria Assunta (Fig. 5): The Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Carpignano Sesia is not one of the oldest churches, nor, perhaps, one of the most relevant from an art history point of view. In spite of this, the visitor is struck by the cascade of colors that characterize its interior, almost entirely occupied by decorations of the Baroque and of later periods (but in any case all harmonize well with each other), in stark contrast with the façade, simple and almost two-colored.
    Parish Church of Santa Maria Assunta in detail.

  • Oratory of di San Giuseppe (Larger picture): formerly the private chapel of the noble family Perego - Pinzio - Lavagetto, owner among others of the adjacent building, now occupied by a rest home for the elderly. It is characterized by having a façade completely frescoed with figures of saints. Also inside there are frescoes and various paintings, unfortunately no pictures can be shown on this page, because until now it was not possible to visit the interior.

  • Church of Santa Maria di Lebbia: Built between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, although today it is located in the middle of the meadows, it was originally the parish church of the town, as evidenced by the fact that it is still today also called Church of Santa Maria Maggiore. In the apse, behind the neo-Gothic decorations, remains of late medieval frescoes appear in some places.
    Church of Santa Maria di Lebbia in detail.

  • Oratory of Santa Marta: It is a small church located immediately to the left of the parish Church of Santa Maria Assunta. The herringbone structure of the façade wall and the left side wall attest to the ancient origins of the building, whose structure is very simple. At the front right corner there is a small bell tower integrated with the main body. Inside there is a single nave. There is no longer the small apse on the back wall, which had remained until the seventeenth century, replaced by a large rectangular presbytery, practically a continuation of the nave.
    The vault, the pilasters, the internal cornices and the sacristy of the church were built in 1821, while the little bell tower and the bell date back to 1832.
    Currently the oratory is used as the winter chapel of the parish church.

  • Wood of the Vallera: It is a wooded area that represents a remnant of the ancient lowland forest that once occupied the entire Po Valley. The predominant tree species is the English oak, but there are also many other tree species, in particular the cordate linden, the ash, the field elm, the hornbeam, the wild cherry, the white poplar. Then there is also the chestnut, however introduced by man.
    There are also many shrubs, including blackthorn, dog rose and hawthorn. The birdlife is very rich. Particularly noteworthy are the tawny owl, the blackcap, various species of tit, the wood pigeon, the common chiffchaff, the great spotted woodpecker, the lesser spotted woodpecker, the buzzard and the oriole.
    More info on the page of the Municipality of Carpignano Sesia.


In Carpignano Sesia there are also other churches and oratories and buildings of some historical importance. For a complete list see the page Tourist guide on the web site of the Municipality of Carpignano Sesia.

Categories: Places of historical value of artistic value


Carpignano Sesia
Further pictures of Carpignano Sesia in the section Photography
Carpignano Sesia (Novara, Italy): Colorful ceiling of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta
Carpignano Sesia (Novara, Italy): Interior of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta
Carpignano Sesia (Novara, Italy): Oratory of San Giuseppe
Carpignano Sesia (Novara, Italy): Presbytery of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta
Carpignano Sesia (Novara, Italy): Baldachin of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta
Carpignano Sesia (Novara, Italy): Interior of the dome of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta
Carpignano Sesia (Novara, Italy): Detail of the colorful interior of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta
Carpignano Sesia (Novara, Italy): Facade of the Oratory of San Giuseppe
Carpignano Sesia (Novara, Italy): Detail of the colorful ceiling of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta
Carpignano Sesia (Novara, Italy): Chapel of Sant'Olivo in the Church of Santa Maria Assunta
Carpignano Sesia (Novara, Italy): Ceiling of the presbytery and of the dome of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta
Carpignano Sesia (Novara, Italy): Apsidal basin of the central apse of the St. Peter's Church
Carpignano Sesia (Novara, Italy): Fresco of the Annunciation in the St. Peter's Church
Carpignano Sesia (Novara, Italy): Apses of the St. Peter's Church
Carpignano Sesia (Novara, Italy): Entering the ricetto through Castello street
Carpignano Sesia (Novara, Italy): House "da Nobile"
Carpignano Sesia (Novara, Italy): Fresco of St. Caterina from Siena in St. Peter's Church
Carpignano Sesia (Novara, Italy): Frescoes of fishes and fantastic animals in St. Peter's Church
Carpignano Sesia (Novara, Italy): A court of the ricetto
Carpignano Sesia (Novara, Italy): Vault of the nave of the dome of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta
Carpignano Sesia (Novara, Italy): Antique houses of the ricetto
Carpignano Sesia (Novara, Italy): Central apse of St. Peter's Church
Carpignano Sesia (Novara, Italy): Three of the apostles depicted on the wall of the central apse of the church of San Pietro
Carpignano Sesia (Novara, Italy): Rear part of the interior of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta
Carpignano Sesia (Novara, Italy): Street inside the ricetto