• Historical news
The origins and history of this Church inevitably intertwine with the historical event of the place (Marmoritum), already an autonomous municipality until 1929 when, together with other hundreds of Italian Municipalities, with Royal Decree n. 315 of 22 February, was suppressed and its territory divided between the neighboring municipalities of Aramengo and Passerano, deplorable fact, today unthinkable, which caused the dismemberment of a community rich in history and traditions.
Of the foundation of the new church dedicated to the “Blessed Virgin ad Nives” there is no certain information, however some elements would refer to the existence of a primitive construction, with annexed cemetery, in the chosen place for the erection of the current church in Fontana or Grassetto village.
More reliable documents refer to the first works of expansion of the old building, under the “Legato Porta” (Giuseppe Antonio Porta was Giacomo di Marmorito) of 1505, which through a substantial income allowed, in addition to the necessary construction works, also the guarantee for the sustenance of a priest who could officiate according to precise rules to be agreed with the parish priest and the Curia. In fact, the new church, although equipped with a chaplain, was submitted to the parish priest of the Parish of Marmorito, residing in the church of the “Conception of S. Maria” or “S. Maria del Castello”, located in the upper part of the village (today Marmorito di Passerano), close to the castle walls.
It was however clear that the new housing needs to be had over time determined the occupation of more comfortable areas, compared to the hill below the castle, encouraging the birth of new and populous hamlets, for this reason it was essential to have a new church, more convenient and capacious, but above all autonomous, we aimed therefore to the erection of a second Parish!
This event occurred, but only much later and after unspeakable disputes, which also saw the Curia of Vercelli as protagonist, but finally on January 5, 1839, the church of S. Maria della Neve was erected in Parish and remained so until 1986, when it came suppressed and united to the Parish of San Antonio Abate of Aramengo.
• Description of the monument
No element survives from the primitive construction, except the vague Romanesque structure which is still read in the apse. The many expansions made over time, have permanently erased the ancient forms and the furious fire of 1922, has completely destroyed the furnishings and furnishings.
Seen from a distance, the church of the Madonna della Neve offers a clear image of "joyful peace", so sweetly spread among the delightful vineyards, with the whitewashed peaks that crown it.
The building that immediately appears solitary and secluded, does not take long to present itself to the visitor in its harmonious fullness; its whole is sober and elegant, nothing is lacking and nothing is too much.
The façade is divided into three vertical sectors by four multiple pilasters that support the heavy horizontal cornice, which delimits the lower part. Central part rises upwards with a triangular pediment, supported on the sides by elegant pilasters with Ionic capitals, which are grafted onto the lower pilasters.
At the bottom there is a wide doorway with a staircase, surmounted by an elegant tympanum with a ribbed and a large raised mirror, bounded upwards by an elaborate gabled frame. At the center is the modern fresco of the Holy Virgin with Child and the large oval window with artistic glass.
The central part of the façade is connected to the lateral sectors by means of two curvilinear buttresses, while the upper profile is marked in the salient points by four egyptian obelisks, and in the center stands an elegant cross on an elaborate stone basement.
The bell tower, not very tall but proportionate, is located on the right of the building. Its surfaces are vertically bounded by angular pilasters in exposed bricks, interrupted horizontally by embossed stringcourses. The bell cell, which houses the castle of the six bells, is open on all four sides, while the upper part of the arches is interrupted by the dials of the clock. The tower is finished by a very simple brick frame, which supports the low roof.
The interior of the church, divided into three naves, appears very intimate, almost intimate. Central nave ends with a triumphal arch in a deep and dark apse, the only element that vaguely recalls the possible Romanesque origins of the monument. The little light filters through the beautiful oval-shaped glass with very intense colors, which stands out in the center of the apse and represents the image of the Madonna della Neve.
The large window is surmounted by two angels in stucco with on the sides as many hanging lamps in bronze, further down two openings with yellow-stained glass, spread an intense golden light.
In the upper part of the presbytery and along the walls of the central nave, at the center of the great arcades, there are eight semicircular windows, which once lit up the upper part of the church and which, following the ancient modification of the roof, are completely darkened.
At the center of the presbytery is the high altar in polychrome marble, entirely rebuilt after the fire, which hides the choir, made with valuable stalls in precious wood. The side aisles are separated from the central one by the large pillars that give rise to six large arches, while the head walls house two minor altars in white marble with colored inserts, surmounted by plaster statues dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Sacred Heart of Maria.
The monotony of the interior walls is interrupted by eight stained-glass windows decorated with floral elements, flanked by the fourteen paintings of the Via Crucis.
Right side, next to the access portal, houses a small trestle, made of uneven marble recovery, which supported an oval picture, with a rich frame, depicting the effigy of Our Lady of Health, work created by Enrico Reffo in 1896 and then sadly stolen in 2001.
Opposite is the Baptismal Font, consisting of a small plaster altar, decorated in fake marble, which contains a small tabernacle and a representation on canvas by Giovanni Battista. It remains to mention the sacristy, located on the continuation of the left aisle and from which the terrible fire of 1922 developed.
The small room is entirely covered with sober cupboards in larch and the main wall houses a window with the statue of St. Louis, donated from the communities of Chieri and Gassino immediately after the fire, to represent a first sign of rebirth!
Source: Text taken from the work ARAMENGO NELLA STORIA of Beppe Moiso - Aramengo, 2012