Art & culture

Gipsoteca Museum “Pietro Della Vedova”

In the village of Rima, in the Municipality of Alto Sermenza, it’s possible to visit the Gipsoteca Museum “Pietro Della Vedova”, strongly desired and designed by the artist himself, where are preserved 220 plaster casts, moved from the artist’s studio located in Turin. The sculptor was of origin of Rima and he was a pupil of Vicenzo Vela in the “Accademia Albertina di Torino”. The museum is located in the woods behind the village of Rima and it is reachable on foot by a very short and flat path.

The museum is accessible, by appointment. For info and reservations: + 39 016395025

The “Torba” of Dorca

The “Torba” of Dorca, a little village in the Municipality of Alto Sermenza, is a Walser house dating back to the 15th century and it has been restored between 2011 and 2012, from the Municipality of Rimasco and the Mountain Community of Valsesia, in order to use the structure as a museum in the future.

The building is one of the most ancient of Dorca, the village is located at 1272 meters and it’s reachable on foot in about 40 minutes. The upper block of the structure is realized with “block-bau” technique, as evidence of its Walser origin. The ground floor, made in stone, housed the stable and the “truna” (a traditional room dedicated to the maturing of cheese).

The two floors are separated by an interspace in which a system of flared pillars disposed on three rows supports the upper wooden part. The first floor was used as storehouse, room for the threshing of cereal grains and hay storage. At the moment, the “Torba” can be admired only from the outside.

The “Pinacoteca” of Varallo

The “Pinacoteca” of Varallo has been founded in 1886 and it houses artwork dating from 15th to 19th century. In particular, a large space is dedicated to important memories of the artistic vocation that moved from the Sacro Monte to characterise the entire Valsesia area over the centuries.

The current layout includes a rich collection of sculptures from the Sacro Monte and the churches in the valley, paintings by Gaudenzio Ferrari and his students, including Bernardino Lanino. An entire section is dedicated to the works of Tanzio da Varallo and 17th century painting.

A wing of the museum contains 18th century works, mostly from Palazzo d’Adda. Lastly, the collection of maiolica pottery dedicated to Francesco Franchi is one of remarkable importance. Recently, the museum has acquired the Remogna collection, which includes paintings by Camillo Procaccini and Giambettino Cignaroli.

For info and reservations: +39 0163 51424

Oratorio di San Giovanni Battista a Ferrate (Rimasco)

Nella frazione Ferrate del comune di Alto Sermenza, proprio all’entrata del piccolo paesino, troviamo l’oratorio dedicato a San Giovanni Battista, che risulta essere una delle strutture religiose più importanti del territorio della Val Sermenza. L’edificio sacro si affaccia sulla strada principale, ad un livello leggermente più basso rispetto a quello stradale.

Oggi, l’oratorio si presenta come una struttura completamente chiusa, ma in origine doveva trattarsi di una cappella aperta. Le dimensioni dell’abside fanno risalire l’edificio al XV secolo.

Prima dell’arco che immette nell’abside si osservano le immagini di San Biagio e San Cristoforo, mentre su una parete laterale si trovano San Sebastiano, San Rocco e un santo Vescovo risalenti alla fine del XIII secolo; nell’emiciclo absidale, invece, vennero dipinte le Storie della vita del Santo (1568): la Decollazione (a destra), il Battesimo di Gesù (al centro, sotto la figura del Dio Padre), Salomè con la testa del Santo in mezzo ad altri commensali (a sinistra). L’oratorio può essere ammirato solo dall’esterno.

The Museum | Laboratory of Artificial Marble of Rima

Located in the village of Rima, in the Municipality of Alto Sermenza, the Museum of Artificial Marble is set in a wooden ancient house of Walser design, where it is possible to participate to training courses to learn more about this unique material that has its origins in 17th century and became famous throughout Europe in 19th century thanks to its large-scale use.

The European and Extra-European Courts used to commission Artificial Marble decorations to the artisans of Rima, so they had to emigrate for long time. This particular material, at that time, was cheaper than the natural marble even if it took a lot of time to be realized: to obtain one square meter of Artificial Marble, it takes up to 12 working hours.

The purpose of the association of Artificial Marble is to make the artists, by teaching them the manufacturing process, capable to revitalize, in the future, the activities connected to this unique material like restoration as well as new applications for interior decorations and architectural structures.

For guided tours: + 39 340.5488376 –  + 39 340.3922189

For training courses: +39 346-32.47.528

The art paths of Valsermenza

In Valsermenza you can discover some amazing foot paths that hide historical and artistic treasures of great value as ancient chapels, votive aedicules and painted oratories. The trails are accessible for everyone without sport preparation and they fascinate trekking and art lovers at the same time.

The trails have been signed by the “CAI” section of Varallo and they are the following:

Boccioleto – Alpe Seccio

Piaggiogna of Boccioleto – Madonna del Sasso

Rossa – Alpe sull’oro

Cerva di Rossa – Alpe Lavaggi

Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Grazie a Varallo Sesia

La chiesa è situata ai piedi della salita che da piazza G. Ferrari conduce al Sacro Monte e ha ai suo fianco il convento ospitante la Casa Generalizia dell’Ordine delle Suore Missionarie di Gesù Eterno Sacerdote.

L’edificio presenta le caratteristiche architettoniche delle chiese conventuali francescane, con una vasta parete divisoria che aveva la funzione di separare lo spazio riservato ai frati da quello aperto ai fedeli.

La chiesa, sorta quasi contemporaneamente al vasto complesso architettonico del Sacro Monte per iniziativa del frate Bernardino Caimi, venne edificata a partire dal 1486.

Nel 1493 era ormai completata poiché è citata nell’atto con il quale la Vicinanza di Varallo faceva dono al Calmi del convento con la chiesa e di quanto era già stato edificato al Sacro Monte.

L’interno della chiesa è raccolto e suggestivo e lo sguardo del visitatore è subito attratto dalla grande parete, che rappresenta uno dei più rilevanti capolavori valsesiani. Essa misura m 10.40 in larghezza e 8 in altezza ed è divisa in venti scomparti che circondano la scena centrale della Crocifissione.

Il popolo di Varallo all’inizio del Cinquecento affidò a Gaudenzio Ferrari l’incarico di dipingervi la Vita di Gesù.

Nella parte superiore della parete, in posizione centrale, è riprodotta l’immagine del Profeta Isaia, mentre in quella inferiore, tra i due pilastri di mezzo, spiccano i due tondi con San Bernardino da Siena e San Francesco d’Assisi, chiusi in basso dall’Ecce Homo e da Santa Veronica. Sotto la parete gaudenziana si aprono tre arcate.

Quella centrale immette nel presbiterio, dove si può ammirare l’altare impiallacciato, accurato lavoro d’intaglio ed ebanisteria, costruito nel 1772 da de Vìncenzi, detto il Francese su disegno di Antonio Orgiazzi.

Orario di apertura: feriali ore 6:30-12:00 15:00-18:30.

Orario delle S. Messe: feriali ore 7:30, sabato ore 17:30, domenica ore 9:00

Natural Museum of Carcoforo

In an ancient Walser house in the Municipality of Carcoforo, you can discover the secrets of alpine nature, thanks to a multi-purpose room which hosts meetings and educational activities, it also provides multimedia workstations with descriptive panels. The museum has been projected and built from the Natural Park of Alta Valsesia using founds of Piedmont Region and of Ministry of Environment.

The structure, originally housed a stable and a hay storage and it has been completely restored preserving the original Walser features.

The museum is accessible by appointment. For info and reservations: +39 0163.54680

The Sacro Monte of Varallo

The Sacro Monte was built by initiative of Beato Bernardino Caimi, that, on his return from the Holy Land at the end of 13th century, decided to recreate, in a small version, the places of Palestina. San Carlo Borromeo was interested and involved in the project and he gave fresh impetus to the masterpiece and named it “The New Jerusalem”.

The building complex is composed by about fifty chapels and it has been completed in two centuries. Each chapel shows scenes of Jesus’s and Mary’s lives, with frescoes (about 4.000 figures) and groups of statues (about 400 pieces).

Among the most significative participant artists, which worked on the project, emerges Gaudenzio Ferrari, who cooperated with the founder to start the Sacro Monte: the impressive “Crucifixion Chapel” was made by the famous painter.

The Sacro Monte of Varallo is unique in its kind thanks to the beauty of the location and the witnesses of faith and art.

For info and reservations of guided tours:   +39 0163 51131 –  +39 348 2444716

Church of Mary’s Assumption in Ferrate

The Church of Mary’s Assumption in Ferrate with its belltower is located in the village of Ferrate in the Municipality of Alto Sermenza. A small painting of the Virgin, preserved in the church behind an iron grille, might have been protagonist of a miracle which gave the church its actual name.

The legend tells that one day the painting was found in the area outside the chapel, than it has been replaced but, day after day, it continued to be found on the ground in front of its regular location, this kept happening even when an iron grille was placed on the chapel. The Friars suggested that the sacred icon was sending a clear message from the Vergin to find another location, so they decided to build the first nucleus of the church where it is still placed today.

The interior walls are decorated with frescoes of 15th century depicting the Saints, and an altarpiece is placed on the high altar and it’s composed by two paintings portraying San Giovanni Battista, San Giacomo and the “Virgin and Child” in the middle. In 1690 the papers mention another altarpiece where are located the following figures starting from below: the sculptures of Mary’s Assumption, San Giovanni Battista and San Giovanni Evangelista, a painting of a Nativity on the top, on each side, the Annunciation, the Vergin and, on the lateral columns, San Giuseppe and Sant’Agata. The author of this masterpiece is unknown but researchers tent to compare it, for its style, to the sculptor of the altarpiece located in the Church of Rossa.

In the Church of Mary’s Assumption are also preserved some valuable wooden ornaments and a Via Crucis (dating back to 1943 which replaced the previous one of 16th century) and a Cantoria with Harmonium of 17th century.

Santuario della Madonna delle Grazie a Rima

Detto anche Santuario della Beata Vergine delle Grazie, il santuario sorge all’entrata del paese di Rima, località del nuovo comune di Alto Sermenza.

L’edificio sacro fu edificato tra l’anno 1400 e l’anno 1481; in origine la cappella era molto piccola e dotata di un altare in muratura.

Nel corso del 600 la primitiva cappella venne ampliata con l’aggiunta del portico, l’innalzamento di una navata coperta con volta e iniziò a divenire cara alla devozione popolare per il fatto di conservare una bella scultura lignea della Vergine, risalente al 400.

Nel 1688 venne costruito il nuovo coro distruggendo l’antica cappella. Di essa sopravvisse solamente un lacerto della campagna ad affresco che era stata eseguita dalla bottega dei De Campo entro il 1481. Il piccolo affresco superstite rappresenta l’Incoronazione della Vergine.

Nel 1742 vennero aggiunti, sul fianco destro del coro, la cappella della Vergine Addolorata, la
sacrestia e l’ossario.

Oggetto del culto era una statua lignea dipinta, raffigurante la Madonna con Bambino e angeli del XVII secolo purtroppo rubata.

La cappella della Vergine Addolorata venne affrescata negli anni ’70 del Settecento da Lorenzo Peracino di Cellio: sull’altare eseguì la Deposizione dalla croce; nella volta, dipinse la Gloria degli angeli con gli strumenti della Passione; nei pennacchi della volta, infine, le immagini dei quattro Evangelisti. Notevole il coro ligneo intarsiato.

All’interno del Santuario sono presenti gli affreschi di Luca de Campis del secolo XV e di Antonio d’Enrico del secolo XVII e una reliquia di San Benigno di Digione.

Attualmente il santuario è un complesso cultuale che comprende, oltre all’oratorio, l’abitazione del
cappellano, il campanile e la foresteria.

La chiesa è visitabile solo il 15 di agosto, in occasione della processione dedicata alla Festa dell’Assunta.

A Ferragosto, infatti, si svolge un’intensa cerimonia religiosa di origine antica e i fedeli della comunità di Rima, che partecipano al rito, indossano i tradizionali costumi Walser.

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