The ancient parish church of Varisella village.
It was probably built in the 12th century.
The diocesan register of 1345 indicates for the first time the existence of the Church of St. Martin of Montafia and includes it among those dependent on the Parish church of St. George of Bagnasco together with the Our Lady of Vignole and St. Marziano, also from the territory of Montafia.
It appears as a country chapel in the documented news of 1585, the year of the pastoral visit, already with the contiguous cemetery.
In the 18th century the conditions are still acceptable, except for the uneven floor, but in 1839 the structures are unsafe, such that all celebrations are forbidden.
Subsequently, the building is remodeled, even with an increase in volumes. In the twentieth century, the front area is transformed into a mortuary chapel.
In the 1980s, work is carried out to solve the problems of slippage of the hillside on which it stands, and recently restoration and recovery of the interior decorations has begun.
The building now with a single hall was perhaps with three naves. Remodeled over the centuries, it retains of the original structures, dating from the Romanesque period, the apse, part of the attachment to the hall, part of the south side, part of the base of the north side, and part of the facade. The stylistic proximity of the apse and the sawtooth motif, made of red brick and pearly white sandstone similar to those of the major apse of St. Second of Cortazzone, suggest the same workers.
Although there are no documentary records before the mid-14th century, we assume a date ascribable between the 11th and 12th centuries. Subsequently, the building underwent a profound transformation, including volumetric transformation.
The crowning sculptures are rich: decorative damier motifs and classical motifs from medieval bestiaries (a fair attempting to bite its own tail, goats hanging upside down, squatting deer). The interior frescoes depict St. Martin sharing his cloak with the poor man. On the plaster fragments three beautiful geometric floral decorations from the mid-16th century.
The ancient Church of St. Martin, which has been declared a regional monument, was the town's first parish.
Associazione InCollina, Turismo nel cuore del Piemonte
- San Martino, Montafia
GAL BMA - Gruppo di Azione Locale del Basso Monferrato Astigiano
- Comune di Montafia (AT)