Parish Church of St. Mary Magdalene

The origins of St. Mary Magdalene parish church are to be sought in the antique settlement in Colle Santino. Archaeological studies have consistently revealed the presence of four previous buildings to the current one, related at the beginning to castrum and then to the castle. The first dates back to the seventh century and was dedicated to St. John the Baptist. The discovery of the fragment of a baptismal stone allows to say that since that time the church had this important function and to know the names of two of its first handlers: the presbiter Ianuarius and famolo Tevortoalio. In XI century A.D., time of the division of Carnia in parishes, some documentary quotes reports that St. Mary Magdalene counted among its dependencies the communities of Verzegnis, Lovasio, Villa, Lauco, Alegnidis, Vinaio, Avaglio, Trava and Esemon di Sopra.

The current Romanesque church with three naves dates back to the second half of the fifteenth century and was the work by the Master  Stefano of the deceased Simon di Mena, a carpenter from Venzone. Specifically, the building would have been realized using the stones derived from the castle of Invillino, dismantled by Patriarch Nicolo di Luxembourg in 1352 with the intention to punish one of the noble Friulian who had conspired against him. A long time incomplete, the building underwent several changes. These interventions are revealed already in the exposed stone façade, on which clearly read at least two different construction phases.

Severely damaged by an earthquake in the ‘700 and then again in ’76, was restored in the 90s trying to restore its earliest appearance.

The Romanesque facade, with its continuous surface formed by square stones from the building an appearance both simple and majestic, emphasizing the central portal from neoclassical lines. At the top you can still see the traces of a mullioned window now closed, perhaps memory of the ancient inner bell. The austere line continues inside, where the white plastered walls is interrupted only by some elements stone, as the solid columns in local conglomerate, interspersed with some neoclassical stucco and Ionic pillars. Within the lateral naves, divided by four arches, so stand out the altars adorned with polychromies and gilding. Of both of the side naves, the right one bears the altarpiece “St. John the Baptist and the Redeemer” of 1570 by Giovanni Antonio Agostini.

At the center of the choir stands out the element of greatest artistic value, the wooden altarpiece by Domenico da Tolmezzo, the greatest Friulian sculptor of the fifteenth century. The one placed in the church is a copy of the original of 1448 currently preserved in the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art in Udine. The altarpiece, which symbolically represents the prestige of the parish church, consists of a mock architectural structure on two levels: in the center of the lower level, within the golden niches are, full length, the Saint of the church surrounded by those of tax churches, including to the extreme right S. Lorenzo. In a central position on the upper level there is a half-length of Our Lady and Child flanked by four saints. Everything is crowned by a frame in which rises a triumphant upon the world Creator.