Text by Ermanno Gardinali
San Michael’s church is thought to date back to the Longobard era. Inside the church, the wall on the left-hand side is covered in frescos painted by painters of the Vercelli school. According to some experts, the 1544 St. Mary’s fresco, which you can see on the left-hand side, as you enter the church, could be the work of the Vercelli school’s master Bernardino Lanino. Throughout the decades the church has been managed by Robbio’s community, formed by small and medium-size land owners who settled in the area in the 17th century. The altar located at the bottom of the left aisle is known as St. Joseph’s altar, on which you can see the heraldic emblem of Robbio along with a picture of the city’s patron saints: St. Joseph, St. Valerian, St. Sebastian, St. Joachim and St. Roch. On your way out, look out on one of the external windows for a shield engrave with two wheels and a tree, which dates back to 1557. When the feudal lords came to take possession of their land, they swore an oath of loyalty right in this church. Over the centuries many alternations were made, including the building of the new choir and bell tower in the 18th century, and some Baroque-style stuccoes which might have covered previous frescos. During WW1 St. Michael’s church was used as a military hospital by the Red Cross. The church had already served the same purpose during the Battle of Palestro, in the Second Italian War of Independence.