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Chiesa di San Antonio Abate, Bardonecchia

#11 of 18 in Things to do in Bardonecchia
Church · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
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Chiesa di San Antonio Abate is located in Melezet. Add Chiesa di San Antonio Abate and other attractions to your Bardonecchia trip itinerary using our Bardonecchia visit planning app.
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  • Linda
  • Beautiful 16th century church with a riot of colored wooden sculptures inside, typical of the melezet carving school. To be seen. Beautiful nativity scene. The parish of Melezet was born in 1487 by detachment from Bardonecchia. The original building was heavily damaged by the raging fire which, in 1694, destroyed a large part of the town. It was therefore necessary to build a new church, for the construction of which many materials of the ancient one were used. The new building was built not far from the previous one. The main facade is characterized by a portico, which is accessed by two symmetrical stone stairs with a limestone balustrade. The façade has a gabled façade, with an arched window at the sides of which two sundials and an empty niche are visible, originally containing the wooden statue of the Madonna and Child, now kept at the Museum of Alpine Religious Art also in Melezet. The church also retains an underground room, formerly used for winter burials, which is accessed by a wooden door placed between the two external symmetrical stairs. The bell tower re-proposes the architectural features of the Romanesque delfinale: the rather high and compact base is marked only by a few narrow slits and is concluded by a cornice with a rounded stone profile, above which two other levels develop. The bell tower on the two upper levels has mullioned windows and culminates with an octagonal stone spire and four pinnacles. The interior consists of three naves, a presbytery and a rectangular apse. The entire structure is dominated by the wooden carving, profuse not only on the retable of the main altar and the side altars, but also in the naturalistic decorations in relief that follow the lines of arches and pilasters of the presbytery area. Among the wooden carvings, the most interesting and characteristic objects are the clusters of Melezet, panels with "fruit cascades" that decorate the back wall of the apse of the church, along with garlands of flowers and fruit placed higher up. Typical product of the carving of the "Melezet school" whose production survives to this day, they bear a lively polychrome decoration and date back to around the end of the seventeenth century. The retable of the main altar was commissioned in 1698 by the then curate, Jerome André, from a workshop of the upper Maurienne. The canvas that embellishes the high altar depicts the Madonna and Child with Saint Anthony the Abbot and an angel. It was donated by Jean Agnés de Geneys in 1698 and is attributed to the Mauriannese workshop of the Dufour brothers. Among the works of painting there is also the Assumption of the Virgin, made by Paolo Gerolamo della Croce in 1619, and the altarpiece of the Crucifix between Saints Carlo Borromeo and Bernardino da Siena, a work of the third quarter of the 1600s assigned to the hand of Jacques Roux. Finally, the stone baptismal font dating back to the early 1600s and assigned to the local Roude atelier should be noted.

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