MONTIGLIO MONFERRATO – SCANDELUZZA
Chiesa di Sant’Emiliano
The presence of a second Romanesque church in the former town of Scandeluzza area, a short distance (around two kilometres) from the church of Saints Sebastiano and Fabiano, leads us to imagine a landscape dotted with medieval villages, each with a sandstone and brick church, but Saint Emiliano is an exception. It was, in fact, founded as a religious site as part of an ancient Order of Jerusalem.
In the oldest record of churches in the province of Vercelli, which dates back to 1298, there is a mention of a ‘capella sancti Emiliani de Villa ordinis hospotaliorum’ , whilst the records from 1348 and 1358 list the ‘domus sancti Emiliani de Villa hospitalariomm ordinis sancti Iohannis Ierosolimitani’, a house under the jurusdiction of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. We can deduce from a document from 1302 relating to a meeting of the Lombardarian Priory of Jerusalem, that Saint Emiliano had, for a long time, been under the power of a one of its prefects. This meeting was held in Asti in 1302 and the document tells us that, amongst other prefects, the priest Guglielmo of Saint Emiliano (frater presbiter Guillelmus preceptor sancti Miliani) was in attendance. Much later, in 1564-1566, the chapel, with all its landed property, is remembered not as a preceptory, but simply as being dependent upon the Jerusalem Commandery of San Martino di Buttigliera d’Asti. During the first half of the seventeenth century, however, it was cited as a “countryside” church under the new name of Our Lady of the Fields. The chapel remained a part of the Order until 1799, when it was suppressed in Piedmont and in the other Savoy states. At this time, Saint Emiliano owned about 15 hectares of lands in the territory of Scandeluzza and about 8 hectares in Villadeati.
The church is located north of the town of Scandeluzza, on a hill parallel to that of the disappeared Caxia on which stands the village of San Sebastian and Fabiano, in the middle of a privately-owned wooded area.
The extant building is the result of many transformations: a single nave, oriented east-west, with a small part of the building backing towards the south, the church retains some original characteristics, but what we know today may well be a second building. The apse, the nave, the porch and the facade have been rebuilt over the centuries, sporadically redeploying Romanesque stone carvings recovered from the oldest part of the building. This becomes particularly evident looking at the wall structure in the highest parts of the building. Part of the side walls and the facade, articulated in an elegant porch, were probably reconstructed in 1874, the time that reconstructive work was carried out on the building.
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. XX, XLI, 175-179.
BATTISTONI M., LOMBARDINI S., TORRE A., a cura di, Comune di Montiglio, Schede storiche-territoriali dei comuni del Piemonte, s.d.
GALVAN C.., Chiesa di Sant’Emiliano Scandeluzza, in a cura di, Osservatorio del Paesaggio, “Il paesaggio del romanico astigiano”, CRASTI, 2006, pp. 184-187.