Parish Church of the Saints Gaudentius and Catherine
The church cropped up a long time ago as a chapel, a dependent of the canons of the Island of Saint Julius, and was rebuilt in the Romanesque style during the twelfth century, when it was dedicated to Saint Gaudentius. Completely renovated at the end of the eighteenth century, it has a Latin cross shape with semi-circular apses, a single nave, and three shrines along each side.
The church has preserved the striking bell tower that dates back to the twelfth century, one of the oldest on the coast, located on the church’s north side, next to the modern bell tower (1792).
The church’s square floor plan includes four rows of mirrors, including single-light mullioned windows with tall, narrow slits on the lower rows and mullioned windows with two lights on the higher rows. It is decorated with hanging arches in groups of three per mirror, displaying a somewhat rough, unsteady workmanship.
The historical Verzone places the construction of the bell tower between 1075 and 1100, citing the type of masonry that features herringbone brushstrokes on the pebbles and the decoration of the arches without pilasters. In 1451 Pettenasco was deemed an independent parish and acquired full independence under Bascapé, the archbishop of Novara between 1593 and 1615. At the end of the 1500s the church was partly restored.
You can admire the painting depicting the Mystical Marriage of Saint Catherine in the apse.
The main characters in the painting are the Madonna with Child and Saint Catherine, who, surrounded by three pairs of angels, kneels at their feet as she receives the ring. Inside the church you will see six shrines: to the crucified Christ, Saints Julius and Gaudentius, Our Lady of the Rosary, and Saints Anthony of Padova and John of Nepomuk. This last shrine holds the so-called “Madonna of the Snow with the Child”, at which the residents of Pettenasco prayed well before the construction of the sanctuary of the same name in Pratolungo.
A large Nativity painting whose creator is unknown hangs on the left wall of the nave. The altar, dedicated to Saints Gaudentius and Julius, holds two sculptures of saints whose creators remain unknown and which depict, according to tradition, Saint Julius in the act of a blessing and Saint Gaudentius standing proudly with a sword to his left. The painting dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary that you can find in the sacristy represents the Virgin with Child, who gave a rosary to Saint Dominic, and the Peruvian Saint Rosa da Lima, whose cult spread widely beginning in the end of the seventeenth century.