Church of Santi Faustino e Giovita in Siviano
Via Siviano, 1 Montisola (Bs)
The parish church dedicated to the holy martyrs of Brescia, built in the 16th Century with a single nave (pastoral visit in 1567) on the plateau overlooking the Siviano district, on the western side of Montisola, was rebuilt in the same place between 1735 and 1754. Blessed in 1759, it was finally consecrated in 1946. It can be reached via a steep set of steps, and rests partly on an embankment supported by two stone walls that also support the churchyard and offers a magnificent view. The single order facade, preceded by an elegant classic structure pronaos (1759), is divided into three parts by Tuscan pillar strips with two empty niches in the middle register and a rectangular window with mixtilinear frames and cyma moulding. Three pinnacles rise on the crown, recovered from the previous church, that support metal crosses. The Rezzato marble portal (1759) also has Tuscan pillar strips decorated like a candelabra, ended in triglyphs, and finishes in a mixtilinear pediment comprising an acanthus leaf plate, surmounted by a shell with a dedicatory inscription.
The bellfry (1700), with regular rows of medolo stone blocks, is both elegant and massive and uses the foundations of an older bell tower.
The architectural structure is perpendicular to the entrance and the interior, exceptionally bright, features a complex central plan, with the dome grafted on four round arches, curved walls that bevel the edges and the presbytery with a rounded vault. The monumental aspects are inspired by Roman models. Elaborate plaster frames embrace a series of 18th Century frescoes on the vault and walls that seem attributable to various travelling Lombard maestros, probably from the Como or Ticino areas, very active on the shores of Lake Iseo and in Val Camonica (Camonica valley), but not yet identified and perhaps belonging to the Scotti family. In the main section the mural paintings depict the Expulsion of merchants from the temple (the back wall), the Adoration of the Magi (on the entrance wall), the Entrance into Jerusalem (opposite wall), Judith slaying Holofernes, Glory of the Saints Faustinus and Jovita (in the conch) and the Evangelists (in the squinches). In the sanctuary, the vault features The decapitation of the patron saints, the squinches, the tools of their subsequent martyrdom, and the bottom lunette The Trinity.
In addition to the high altar (polychrome marble, 18th-19th Century) where the most ancient altarpiece, with the Virgin and Child in Glory (Madonna of Ceriola) and the Saints Faustinus and Jovita is the work of an artist of Palma workshop (early 17th Century), there are also four altars: each is inserted within a space created in the curved walls and surrounded by very refined white and gilded plasters. The oldest altarpiece, surviving the pre-existing church, features the Last Supper (1651), signed by one of the most original among the artists from Brescia of the 17th Century: Ottavio Amigoni. Probably trained in the Po Valley courts of Modena and perhaps Mantua, he has left numerous works in the Sebino area.
The altarpiece on the alter to the left of the entrance is attributed to Bernardino Bono, an 18th Century artist from Brescia, a student of the classicist Marcantonio Franceschini, which here, however, reminisces an altarpiece by Giovan Battista Pittoni (1737) painted for San Giorgio (St. George) in Brescia and now exhibited in the local Diocesan Museum. The author of the next altarpiece also seems very close to Bono, but more vigorous, with his Christ in glory, Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph and Saints Anthony of Padua, Aloysius Gonzaga and Vincent Ferrer. A modern statue of the Madonna and Child is inserted in a niche on the Rosary altar; it is surrounded, but at a distance, by the Mysteries, some of which are missing. These seem to be the work of Antonio Gandino, artist from Brescia of the early 17th Century, or his son Bernardino. Of particular prestige are the shaped 18th Century altars, with marble mosaics, of the chapels in front of the sanctuary, completed with white marble reliefs, cherub heads, cherub statutes and angels. The two holy water fonts, again decorated with mosaics on a black background, are a great rarity. The baptismal font is from the Renaissance era. A small niche framed by a precious carved and gilded frame, probably the work of Fantoni (17th Century), is the seat of a wooden sculpture of St. Anthony Abbot.