The parish of Torre di St. Maria

di Saveria Masa

The parish church of Torre di S. Maria.

Throughout the Middle Ages, the ancient community of Torre di S. Maria, grew along the main road running longitudinally through the Valmalenco. Like the other communities in the valley, it had to use the only existing church for its religious services, that of the Saints Giacomo and Filippo in Chiesa, where the curate of the valley lived. The considerable distance separating the two villages and the rise in the population of Torre towards the end of the fourteenth century, were the reasons why the people decided to build their won church. The temple built in the early fifteenth century, dedicated to Santa Maria Nascente, was consecrated on 25 April 1415.

From then on through highs and lows, the religious community of Torre was able to celebrate religious services in its own village, first and foremost thanks to the priest who regularly camed to Torre from Chiesa. Then, during the 16th century, the village paid for its own curate. The first curate to be mentioned in documents (1588), was brother Antonio de Cadeis from Bergamo, from the Agostinian order. He was followed by Antonio Villa of Genoa until 1608. Other priests took over as curate of Torre in that period: Bartolomeo Fracalossi originally from Bormio, Giovanni Francesco Interiortoli of Sondrio (from 1610 to 1615), Adriano Merli of Sondrio (from 1616 to 1619) and Giovanni Pietro Carini of Lanzada, who was also to become the first parish priest.

Similar to the other communities of the Valmalenco, the curacy in Torre di S. Maria was granted religious autonomy in 1624, the year in which the parish was established (14 July). Entrusted for a very short time to the curate, Giovanni Pietro Carini (who was then appointed parish priest of Lanzada), the parish of Torre was then assigned to the priest, Giovanni Matteo Homodei of Sernio, who held the post until 1628. He was followed by Benedetto Paravicini of Ardenno, who held a degree in theology. In 1631, Nicola Quadrio of Bormio was appointed parish priest. However, he only remained in Torre for three years. He was replaced briefly by Vincenzo Vicedomini of Morbegno. In 1636, the parish was entrusted to Giovanni Giogia of Lanzada, who was to be the first to exercise the parish ministry continually from 1636 to 1661.