Text by Ermanno Gardinali
The country church of St. Roch was likely built as an emotional response to the plague that affected the area in 1578. The church was built 1km outside of the village, in a muddy area. The position may suggest that it was built in such an isolated area to be used as a quarantine hospital.
The church was dedicated to St. Roch, as he was specially invoked against the plague. Throughout the centuries the church witnessed the events that periodically affected the town, including multiple epidemics. In the 19th century the threat of cholera urged for the creation of a porch to be used as a hospital or quarantine station. With its new configuration, St. Roch’s church served both as a place of worship and as a hospital, according to the population needs. Later on it was also used as a store room, a house for displaced people and as a security office. Inside the church you can admire frescos from the 18th century. On the left-hand side wall a fresco with St. Mary, St. Anthony the Great and St. Francis stands out, probably painted by Lanino or Giovenone. The apse houses the Virgin and Child, surrounded by St. Roch and St. Sebastian, work attributed to the painters from Vercelli’s school. The oratory is the Town Hall’s property.
Translated by Elena Ferrara