Church of San Matteo in Flaccanico
The Flaccanico church, dedicated to St. Matthew, overlooks the village with churchyard opening out to magnificent views. As it had always been linked to the church of Sant’Ambrogio of Qualino – the first parish church on the Coast – it never assumed the title of parish church.
The first signs of a church for the community of Flaccanico date back to the 16th Century, and since at least 1660 the community had the right to appoint its own chaplain for religious services. There is not much evidence of the first chapel – except for a fragment of a fresco – and the current building, completed in 1755, appears to be the extension of an existing version. Its construction incorporates a fairly consolidated layout in the sacred architecture seen in Brescia in the 18th Century, which is also found in the churches of Ceratello and Qualino and is perhaps inspired by models of Antonio Corbellini, an architect from Como who was very active in the Brescian area.
The facade, divided on three levels, has a porch supported by two columns in Sarnico sandstone, resting on plinths decorated with a diamond motif. The portal of the church, also in sandstone, is found under this roof and concludes in a broken gable. Above the cornice there is a large window, framed by pilar strips, which culminates in a large gable.
The interior, a single nave with three bays, features pilar strips interspersing the walls, on which the entablature and the horizontal cornice runs to support the barrel vault. The decoration, mostly restored in the 20th Century, has vaults decorated with a late Baroque style performed after the architectural work was completed. In the multi-lobed cornices there are episodes from the life of Christ, attributed to workers from the Como area and dated to the mid 18th Century, which were based on an easy to read iconographic and almost didactic style and characterised by a lively colour palette: from the first bay, the Calling of St. Matthew, the Expulsion of merchants from the temple, and the Presentation of Mary in the temple and in the sanctuary The Glory of St. Matthew.
On the inside façade there is a painting of the local area, dating back to the 18th Century, with the Martyrdom of St. Eurosia. This saint, depicted in the act of martyrdom with her hands and feet cut off, was invoked to protect the harvest against storms: legend has it that during her martyrdom a violent storm struck and a voice from heaven indicated the Saint as the holy protectress against bad weather. On the left, in fact, one can see a group of devotees, whose prayers are fixed on scrolls.
The chapel on the left is dedicated to St. Charles, as seen from the medal with the effigy of the saint in the frontal, and preserves an altarpiece depicting Saints Charles Borromeo and John of Nepomuk in adoration of the Cross (18th Century). The image on the right altar is the fragment of a fresco belonging to the previous church, dating back to the 16th Century, which represented the Madonna and Child between two saints (one identifiable as St. Anthony Abbot). An evident object of devotion, the image of the Madonna, also known as Our Lady of the duck, was preserved in the expansion of the church and enclosed within a rich gilded wooden frame, protected by a leaded glass door. This complex was built by the workshop of Fantoni of Rovetta in a phase during the 18th Century renovation of the building.
The apse, on the other hand, preserves an alter with a table and tabernacle and the holy oil aediculae (small temples) in coloured marble at the end of the sanctuary, also dating back to the 18th Century renovation of the building. The large wooden cornice belongs to the furnishings of the previous church and dates back to the second half of the 17th Century: made of gilded and polychrome wood, it culminates in a broken gable with volutes, and features God the Father in the centre. The beautiful altarpiece, depicting the Coronation of Our Lady with Saints Matthew and Gotthard seems to be affected by the late 16th Century Brescian culture, although it is datable to the first decades of the next century.
For more information:
CAMPAGNONI M.A., Terra di confine: Costa Volpino, Bergamo 2011, pp. 350-354.
Cover photo credits: Linoolmostudio