Collegiata di Sant’Ambrogio Church Omegna

Collegiata di Sant’Ambrogio Church

The church of Omegna has ancient origins. It is located in Piazza Beltrami, not far from the crossing from which you can admire the Roman Gate, and is the result of successive artistic and architectural styles through the centuries, starting from the original Romanesque style that defines the façade.
The original church was most probably built between 960 and 969 A.D., presumably thanks to the donations made by Emperor Otto I to the clerics of the Riviera.
From 1470, then during the Baroque period and, finally, in the 1920s, the church underwent a number of interventions, including the extension of the basilica and the bell tower, later incorporated in the building walls. The colonnade, on the other hand, dates back to the 19th century. In particular, the South side of the Collegiata is renowned for featuring some of its oldest elements. Among them: the church's side door; the “MCCCCLXX” inscription that indicates the date of the first extension works; the last traces of a 15th century fresco depicting Christ on a throne; a large-size Saint Christopher, unfortunately, in poor conditions; a decorated sundial, dating back to 1810. Moving forward, on the right, you find the chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes: an adaptation of the old ossuary, dated 1911, which now hosts the reconstruction of the grotto, with the Virgin and young Bernadette made of white painted marble.

The Collegiata Church is characterised by a stone roof, made using only stones from Valsesia. It has a longitudinal plan with no transept; the inside is divided into three naves with round arches and rib vaults with frescos and decorations. The beautiful Venetian mosaic floors are characterised by designs. The church has six chapels; the one dedicated to Saint Vito is the largest. Inside, the magnificent altar dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, an exquisite example of Baroque style, beautifully crafted. The two passages at the side of the altar lead to a chapel once under the patronage of the Confraternity of the Holy Sacrament, whose wood choir is still in the chapel. This is where the old urn with the relics of Saint Vito is kept. The urn arrived in Omenga in 1611 and Vito has been the co-patron saint of our city ever since. The wooden polyptych – by Fermo Stella da Caravaggio, dated 1547 – painted and decorated in gold, is the item with the greatest artistic value in the church and can be found at the bottom of the apse. Its six large poplar wood tables feature the Virgin with Baby Jesus surrounded by angels and the nine saints who protect the surrounding parish lands.