Magnano is close to two urban centres, Biella and Ivrea. Its location, in the hills of the Serra (at an altitude of 600 m) allows one to enjoy the
tranquillity and natural beauty of the site.


The origin of Magnano


In the Middle Ages the village of Magnano was situated around the church of San Secondo.


Like nearly all the Biellese, it was a feud of the Bishop of Vercelli. The earliest written traces of Magnano date from 1166 when iron artisans, called "magnin", supplied their products to the canons of the Vercelli Cathedral. At the end of the twelfth century Magnano was given to the powerful Avogadro family in Cerrione. In 1373 Magnano passed under the dominion of Savoia and, after a period of subjection to the Dal Pozzo family, it once again fell under the domain of the Avogadro's until the eighteenth century.


The Churches

The Chiesa Parrocchiale

The construction of the church of San Giovanni Battista was begun in 1658 and is representative of the Baroque style most common to churches in the Biellese region. It is composed of a nave, two aisles, presbytery and a chancel which was enlarged in 1750. The splendid pulpit and the closets in the sacristy were carved by Carlo Francesco Auregio Termine in 1698. Twenty-three years earlier Giovanni Antonio Flecchia, a Biellese artist, was commissioned to build the richly decorated altarpiece, the Altare del Suffragio, one of the few extant works by that artist. Within the church a number of significant paintings have been conserved, the most important being over the central altar and representing the birth of St. Giovanni Battista and Saints Secondo and Biagio, painted by the Torinese artist, Bartolomeo Garavoglia in 1677. Nearby, over the altar dedicated to St. Antonio, is an interesting painting by Antonio Germanetti of Tollegno, dated 1676. In the early decades of the eighteenth century Pietro Agostino Zamorra, also from Turin, painted fourteen pictures depicting the Apostles, the Virgin Mary and the Redeemer. Their frames were painted and gilded by Giuseppe De Fabianis from neighbouring Zumaglia. The decorated, marble altar dates from 1752-53 and is the work of Francesco Olgiate of Viggiù. The altars of the Rosary and of the Guardian Angel were both re-built in 1818. The baldachin (1860) is by the sculpture Bosco and the compass by Lorenzo Simonetti of Mongrando. The facade was redone in 1830 but the final version is the work of Negri and was completed in 1851. A restoration was done in 1995 restoring the facade to the colours originally used by Negri.


San Secondo

The origins of this church date to the first half of the eleventh century and it is thought it may have been founded by Benedictines. At the time the village of Magnano surrounded the church. For strategic reasons the village moved shortly after up the hill to its present location and when the construction of the church of Santa Marta began, in 1606, permission was granted to demolish San Secondo in order to use the materials for the new church. Fortunately, this initiative met with opposition from the townspeople and, instead, the church was restored in the baroque style prevalent in the seventeenth century. In 1968/70 the church was once again restored, this time to its original Romanesque style and stands as a typical example of medieval architecture. The church has three naves and the remains of a few frescos can still be discerned on the walls. The bell tower is a fine examples of Romanesque art.


Santa Marta

This is an early seventeenth-century edifice originally dedicated to Saints Secondo and Biagio. For a brief period it was the parish church of Magnano after which it served as the church for a Confraternity dedicated to Santa Marta. A restoration undertaken in the eighteenth century left it with the baroque characteristics still observable today.


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