Located outside of the village and visible from the plain, Sant’Ambrogio (St. Ambrose) of Qualino is the most elaborate church along the Volpino coast. It is currently presented in the forms undertaken following the extensions made in the 17th Century and in 1902 on a 15th-Century structure in part preserved and documented by fragments of frescoes inside the building. The two order façade completed by a mixtilinear gable and preceded by a pronaos makes it similar to the parish churches of Branico, Flaccanico and Ceratello; the portal stands out for the quality of the black Riva di Solto stone with inlays.
Inside, the single-nave church is interspersed by pilar strips and a sequence of groin windows opening on to the high barrel vault ceiling, decorated with scenes from the life of St. Ambrose.
Two side chapels near the sanctuary house the altars of the Rosary and San Firmus with 17th Century frames in carved and gilded wood; on the altar of the Rosary stands the painting by Domenico Carpinoni, with striking motif and lively colours, datable to between 1646 and 1652.
The exceptional decoration of the sanctuary is the result of a decorating campaign implemented in the 1730s. The imposing Eucharistic tribune (whose function was to enhance the presence of the tabernacle placed below it, and to accommodate the monstrance during Eucharistic adoration) was perhaps built by the Ramus workshop; despite the heavy losses caused by theft, it still shows its exceptional architectural quality in the layout of the central temple with two wings and the steps carved into a bed of mirrors. The marble altar is also of exceptional quality, perhaps the work of the Manni workshop. The work of the altarpiece frame dates back to 1736, a spectacular Rococo work by the woodcarver Andrea Fantoni of Rovetta; the rather average painting represents the parish community through the patron saints of ancient churches under the wing of St. Ambrose (shown next to the Madonna and Child): Matthew, Anthony Abbot, George and Bartholomew, patron saints respectively of Flaccanico, Corti, Ceratello and Branico.
For more information:
CAMPAGNONI M., Terra di confine: Costa Volpino 2011, pp. 355-363.
PAGNONI L., Chiese parrocchiali bergamasche, Bergamo 1979, pp. 294-295.
Cover photo credits: Linoolmostudio