The parish church of Bareggio dedicated to Saints Nazaro and Celso already existed in the Middle Ages: the dedication shows its ancientness, in confirmation of which we have, as well as several written witnesses, the lower part of the tower that still shows the typical arches decoration of Romanesque age. The old church was in Romanesque style, built in the twelfth or thirteenth century, probably as a replacement of an older one and could hold about 740 people; still used in the sixteenth century, it was covered by wood and tiles, with a single nave, about 15 meters long and 8 wide, just 6.40 meters high, with three altars and paintings. The following pastoral visits go on showing it as, but by then, in 1644, completely falling and to be restored urgently.
The economic difficulties of the period were not few; it was, however, taken a drastic decision: to replace the existing church with a wider one and especially in modern style: the tenacity of priests brought in short to the construction of the actual terminal part of the church, consisting of an octagon covered by a daring vault and ending with a deep choir. The project dates back to about 1680 and the building was completed in 1727: the complexity of the design, the elegance of decorations, the abundance of light find more pronounced splendor in the high altar, make this building an up-to-date and refined fulfilment of the transition from Baroque to Rococo, of a modernism closer to the works by Pietrasanta. We have no longer the facade of the seventeenth-eighteenth century because demolished for the nineteenth century extension, however, the transition between the side-aisles and the octagonal part still shows a line pattern typical of the Rococo, in the same way the side-altars rich in polychrome marbles, one containing a statue of the Virgin always of the eighteenth century, the other a contemporary paiting, have been completed in the eighteenth century.
The rich but elegant decoration of walls, composed of Corinthian half-pillars (pilasters), and lower Doric, high frame (trabeation) and slight movements, elements also found in the exterior and similar to those of the nearby St. Mary of the Snow's oratory of some previous decade, was recovered in stretching: the octagonal church could hold about 900 people, no longer enough after the Unification of Italy: in 1880 it was decided to add a building that kept the ancient architectural lines. We are in the artistic Eclecticism age: the styles have a historical and cultural value often recovered in politics such as in the churchyard of Abbiategrasso; here is rather accentuated the Baroque effect: observe the inside of the facade where even four half-pillars ( pilasters ) are placed one upon another.
The whole effect is of great unity, thanks to the studied project by the architects Vandoni and Strada: the latter is also responsible for the design of the facade, completed in 1893, which repeats some of the Baroque themes in a much more composed and impressive context, close to the culture of St. Charles age and the creations by Tibaldi, as the parish church facade of Gudo Visconti.
In the nineteenth century then the church is grown longer, the interior decoration with paintings, frescoes, statues and altars, the new facade is completed and the bell tower is raised: this was completed in 1826 and designed by Giovanni Nava up to reach 28, 40 meters. In the whole, the parish church of Bareggio reveals a complexity that reflects the richness of the village history, from medieval to contemporary age, through Baroque and Rococo , all styles and ages found in the current building , but it is mainly the octagonal plan amazing, so daring but also rare in these areas, because the few designed were often destroyed, as the church of St. John to the Broken Houses in Milan by Francesco Maria Richini, to which the design of this church was probably inspired, considering also that the same Richini designed the nearby Oratory of St. Bernard in Albairate.
(In the photo: The front and back of the parishchurch ofBareggio- Photo by Domenico Iacaruso)
- Piazza Camillo Benso di Cavour Square 37 - 20010, Bareggio, MI, Italy
- Telephone and fax: + 39 02 9013317