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Culture by Nature

Cuore verde tra due laghi
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Cuore verde tra due laghi

Parish Church of Our Lady of the Assumption

Ameno

Coming from the Marconi Piazza, you will find this church, which stands alone at the end of the town, at the end of a striking tree-lined avenue. For the most part, it is a Romanesque structure, except for the area around the presbytery. The decorations and mountings inside are actually from the Baroque age (seventeenth century). Erected during the first half of the fourteenth century on top of a much older foundation, the building maintains the original three-nave Romanesque structure. It includes a primary central altar and two altars to the side, dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary and to the Holy Spirit.

A Romanesque-looking bell tower in overlapping slabs of granite reaches 60 meters (almost 200 feet) high and overlooks the church: although its construction began in 1505 (the date engraved in its base), it wasn’t completed for another 20 years. It is one of the tallest bell towers in the region and is characterized by a belfry equipped with mullioned windows with one, two, and three lights. A huge pair of pliers was constructed specifically to raise the granite blocks to their current heights; some still remember the pliers hanging in the old Town Hall, but after a fire all traces of them were lost.

According to tradition, Our Lady of the Assumption was constructed by Saint Julius. It was run by a chaplain under direct dependence of the Island church until 1460; in 1499 it was granted the right to baptize new members, and it wasn’t until 1507 that it was officially separated from its mother church, despite opposition from the Canon of Saint Julius. The vast sacristy was constructed by the Lucca Company - the fraternity of men from Ameno who had moved to Lucca for work - in the seventeenth century, as recounted in a note found in the parish archive and the inscription on the tombstone that now acts as a threshold for the door to the archive: “...ORIDA CONSTRUXIT LUCAE SACRARIA C... GENS AMENA MORANS FUNDITUS A...”. This inscription may be interpreted: “The people of Ameno who live in the city of Lucca construct this ornate sacristy from the ground up in this year...” This Company also donated the Baroque carved wooden cabinet that stands along the east wall, as well as the elegant altar with black marble columns that frames an altar piece created by an unknown seventeenth century artist, which represents the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Blessed Virgin and on the Apostles. Higher up the Lucca Crucifix, also called the Holy Face, stands out dressed in a Byzantine tunic. The Milan Company donated two large, bronze, elegantly sober candelabras to the Parish Church; on three sides of its base are carved a rearing dog, the symbol of Ameno. The dog is crowned and carries the label “Fidelitas Coronata”, which indicates a steadfast fidelity to the Lord Bishop of Ameno, later the Count, of the Coast of Saint Julius. The Milan Company also donated the large canvases dedicated to the life of the Virgin that hang on the walls of the church.

The Brescia Company donated the wooden choir stalls behind the altar as well as the organ loft, a laudable work of the mid-seventeenth century, moved in the early nineteenth century to the Saint Bernard oratory, but always remaining in Ameno. The present day loft - posted at the entrance of the church - dates back to when it served as a replacement (early nineteenth century) and was painted by Agostino Comerio, a famous neoclassic artist from Lombard.

Open during the period of the celebration of the Holy Mass, from Palm Sunday until November 1.