Parish church of St. Micheal the Archangel

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Considered a national monument, the parish church of St. Michael the Archangel is located in the centre of the small mountain municipality of Riva Valdobbia, part of the municipality of Alagna Valsesia.

The present day building is the outcome of remodelling of the 15th-century oratory of St. Mary. Originally, the parish church of Riva stood near the Vogna stream. Consecrated in 1326, it was destroyed in 1640 when the stream flooded the area; therefore, the inhabitants chose the oratory of St. Mary as the main church, and rebuilt it as it appears today, enlarging it and also adding a second bell tower.

The inside features valuable paintings and sculptures, such as the Assumption of the Virgin frescoed on the dome by Carlo Borsetti, a 15th century statue of the Madonna and Child, as well as the baptismal font, which can be dated to the 11th and 12th centuries, besides a stone bas-relief. However, the parish church is famous for the beautiful fresco that adorns the entire façade. Made by the workshop of D’Enrico from Alagna (Tanzio da Varallo’s family), it depicts the Last Judgement and St. Christopher. In the centre, above the ogival arch of the door, St. Michael the Archangel weighs the souls for the Last Judgement, placing the damned on one side and the blessed on the other. On the left, the bell tower features a monumental statue of St. Christopher, patron saint of Valsesia and patron of travellers. At the top we find the figure of Christ with the symbols of the Passion and, a little further down, the Blessed Virgin and John the Baptist. Then the figures of apostles and saints with hosts of angels complete the picture.



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