Chiesa dei Morti in Vello
At the southern limit of the territory of Vello, Sant’Eufemia is known as the Church of the dead (morti in Italian) due to its proximity to the cemetery that develops on the ancient gravyard: the church, in fact, carried out parish functions from 1525 to 1703 when the construction of the new parish church was completed. in the center of the village.
The chapel was documented in 1132 when Pope Innocent II confirmed its possession to the Brescia monastery of Sant’Eufemia, which probably was built in the 11th century. The building appears strongly conditioned by its location and, to adapt to the narrow strip of land, it does not respect the canonical orientation to the east but develops along a north-south axis.
The bell tower of the Romanesque building is preserved intact, with regular ashlars masonry with corner pilasters and double arched internal mirroring on a thin shelf. The precocity of the construction at the beginning of the 11th century emerges both in the irregular and slightly accentuated profile of the shelf that supports the double arch and in the cell, which opens with four double-profile mullioned windows divided by rudimentary supports. The adoption of easily workable tuff in the bell tower has allowed a regular wall texture that is not found in the east and west perimeter, probably still belonging to the Romanesque building but transformed in the fifteenth century with the insertion of buttresses to support the vaults.
The church was originally supposed to end with a semicircular apse, of which the connection on the south side of the bell tower is preserved: it was replaced in the sixteenth century by the current square presbytery.
The frescoes on the entrance façade can be traced back to the late fifteenth-century Renaissance phase. The cycle, not completely legible today, is well laid out. In the upper band there is a frescoed scene of the Annunciation dated 1489. Above the arched entrance portal there are the remains of a kind of triptych with blessing Saint Euphemia between two musician angels. It is still a late Gothic painting, albeit in the arches of the triptych and in the architectural elements of the fake frame painted around the portal with ancient tondoes, there are attempts at a Renaissance update. In the lateral bands of the facade there are four other frescoed panels; the lower ones were partially truncated by the opening of the windows with the respective step-kneeler: this solution allowed the faithful to kneel and pray facing the presbytery even when the building was closed. The martyrdom of Blessed Simonino of Trento is still visible in the box at the top right. Further down there are traces of a group of figures including a figure with a stick; the simple frame that divides the two panels preserves remains of inscriptions which suggest that some portions of the external frescoes are ex voto.
The interior of the building is entirely decorated even if the pictorial film has undergone a conspicuous deterioration due to humidity. The decorations were made dry by G. Casari in 1947, the same painter who put his hand to the nearby church of San Pietro in Pregasso (municipality of Marone). A late Gothic Trinity remains very worn, which could be dated to the end of the 15th century; Unfortunately, the state of the work is very precarious and it is likely that what is visible today is a repainting, also attributable to Casari, of the ancient image. The same doubt arises for an interesting Last Supper that is distributed over a long horizontal portion of the masonry: the frontal presence of the apostles, the scroll that unrolls between one head and the other of the diners would depose for an older composition revived in the century last. The rest of the building is dry decorated with fake architectures with coffers, floral elements, Eucharistic symbols and figures of saints.
Monica Ibsen, Federico Troletti