CASTELNUOVO DON BOSCO
Church of Saint Eusebio
The Saint Eusebio church is located close to a crossroads: in front of the façade runs the Casalborgone-Pralormo highway leading to Moncucco and Berzano, to the south-east of the church is the highway leading to Albugnano, finally crossed by the road leading to the town of Castelnuovo. It was the first parish church in this area and is mentioned in documents from as early as 1280 as being dependent upon the church of Santa Maria di Pino, who in turn was under the patronage of the Counts of Cocconato. In fact, the Counts appointed the rector of Saint Eusebio in 1348. In 1574 the bishop of Vercelli, in whose diocese the church was located, defined it as a ‘countryside church’, no longer dependent on the parish of St. Andrew, and Saint Eusebio remains independent to this day.
The title of St. Eusebio would indicate very lofty origins: the saint was Bishop of Vercelli from 345 until 374, the first Bishop in Piedmont. He was later imprisoned and exiled to Palestine and Eqypt as punishment for his services to Emperor Constantius in the fight against Arianism.
The single nave building is the result of two successive elevations of the original Romanesque church, caused by a gradual raising of the landslide-prone terrain of the hill behind. Such changes, which can be traced back to the to the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries, are more distinguishable on the church’s south side and in the structure of the apse. The apse retains unique characteristics of Romanesque architecture of the late eleventh, early twelfth century: ashlar masonry that uses sandstone alternating sporadically with brick, the division into three panels by thin columns and corresponding to three lancet windows (two of which are closed up) , the decoration of the monolithic arch with foliage and scrolls which, in this case, is very similar to San Martino di Montafia. Traces of hanging arches further emphasize the style of the time. The south side bears testimony to the rising of the land during the fifteenth century with a frame of slightly protruding bricks, above which there is still an area of plastered wall with scozia cornicing from the eighteenth century. Probably in conjunction with the eighteenth-century reconstruction of the building internal vaults were built and the facade was given its current composition, whose architectural elements are adorned with many fine examples of elegant molding work.
A major restoration, completed in 2007, has brought to light the inside floor and the outside layer of the original Romanesque church, and has modernized and strengthened the entire building.
SOLARO FISSORE A., La chiesa di Sant’Eusebio in Castelnuovo don Bosco: tecniche costruttive e moduli espressivi nell’ambito della cultura romanica del Monferrato tra XI e XII secolo, in Impegno della scuola sul territorio e salvaguardia dei beni culturali. Catalogo della Mostra del Corso Sperimentale di rilievo e restauro architettonico, Asti, 1978, pp. 67-69
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. 70-74.
CAPPELLINO M., Chiesa di Sant’ Eusebio – Castelnuovo Don Bosco, in a cura di, Osservatorio del Paesaggio, “Il paesaggio del romanico astigiano”, CRASTI, 2006, pp. 114.