Church of San Giorgio
The church of San Giorgio is situated in the Masio zone of Aramengo and located on a hillock which opens 360 degrees onto the Monferrato hills and the higher, tree-covered Torinese hills. The Church of San Giorgio is very old and is dedicated to the Christian martyr knight, who gave rise to different orders of chivalry. Many churches in the Asti countryside are dedicated to Saint George, just in the area of Aramengo there are at least four: at Bagnasco of Montafia, at Andezeno, at Vergnano Moncucco (home to an ancient and powerful pieve), in Piovà Massaia (also home to a pieve), all present since the year one thousand.
The first documented mention of a “Ecclesia de Aramengo” appears in the valuation of the Diocese of Vercelli in 1298, but specifically “… sancti Georgii de Aramengo” appears in the records of the decime (the decima being a percentage of crops that landowners were obliged to donate the church under whose jurisdiction their fields lay) of 1348 and 1358, as being under the administration of the church of San Giovanni Lustria, or Monteu da Po, the ancient Roman Industria. In 1349 the patrons of the church were the Lords of Aramengo and the Counts of Radicati.
The pastoral visit of 1573 shows that by this time, the parish church of San Giorgio no longer performed Mass and in 1597 the parish church was finally moved to the church of Sant’Antonio del Castello; only the cemetery remains at Masio . According to successive pastoral visits the church fell into disrepair, the vault and flooring were lost and the cemetery was no longer fenced. This state of abandonment lasted until around the end of the seventeenth century, when all that remained of the original Romanesque building were the apse ceiling and part of the lateral walls. These walls were raised at this time, probably to allow the for construction of the barrel vault and simultaneously the façade was rebuilt in a baroque ‘preist’s hat’ form. In the twentieth century major restoration work uncovered the original walls of the church by removing plaster that had hidden them for many years.
The construction features of the original Romanesque parts take us back to the late 12th or early 13th century: the wide blocks of sandstone, neatly tessellated with rows of bricks testify to a construction date which places San Giorgio firmly within the ‘Monferrato school’ group of Romanesque churches. A single nave ends in a semicircular apse, externally divided into three panels by elegant half-columns in sandstone; at the centre of each section there is a small monolithic arched ‘lancet’ window. The upper crowning of the apse is in brick, the original, probably prehistoric, arches having being lost.
PITTARELLO L. (a cura di), Le chiese romaniche delle campagne astigiane. Un repertorio per la loro conoscenza, conservazione, tutela, Torino – Asti, Soprintendenza per i beni ambientali e architettonici del Piemonte – Provincia di Asti, 1984 (ed. 1998), pp. 42-45.
CAPPELLINO M., Chiesa di San Giorgio, Aramengo, in Il paesaggio del romanico astigiano, Asti, Cassa di Risparmio di Asti, 2006, pp. 92-93.
MOISO B., La chiesa di Sant’Antonio Abate (Aramengo) in occasione del suo Bicentenario, Aramengo, s.n., 2009.
MOISO B., Aramengo nella storia, s.d., in preparazione.