Regione Piemonte

Church of SS. Antonio e Lorenzo

Address: Regione S. Antonio, 36, 14018 Villafranca d'Asti AT, Italia

The area in which Villafranca, Catalana, Maretto and Roatto stood eight hundred years ago was presented in a different form of the current, but not less intensely populated.

Six major and oldest centers were constituted by Musanza and Serralonga, to the north of them appeared other encased localities that would flow into the territory of the new villa whose boundaries were not always clearly distinguishable.

It is not unlikely that this wealth of settlements is due not only to an increase in documentation, but to a true demographic increase that occurred in the eleventh century. Another widespread phenomenon of that moment was the development of noble powers: the authority of the public administration failed, the large landowners began to build castles and force the peasants to recognize their authority.

Each village thus had one or more lords who exercised power over men, sometimes in competition with each other.

The greatest authority of our valley was first that of religious bodies.

The bishop of Asti, in particular, in the mid-twelfth century still controlled much of the territory of the parish church of Musanza, that of Serralonga and the Pieve di Giustino.

A few decades earlier (1132) he had donated to the Benedictine monastery of S. Anastasio di Asti the churches of S. Michele (today Dusino San Michele) and S. Lorenzo di Montanero (disappearance, once of the Arcau), together with what he owned in the castle and in the village of Montanero is in Vulpilio is in Traversola, with all the men who depended on him.

The territory of Montanero had to occupy the area between Arcau and Valcerreto, on the border with Maretto, an area called in fact in the eighteenth century "Valle di Montanelli"; here the monastery of S. Anastasio possessed a castle, perhaps identifiable with the "castellaccio" mentioned in the seventeenth century on the hill "delle Bertochie", that is of the Bertoc.

Traversole has left its name to the current mill, near the big bridge and to Vulpilio (or Pastella) the Church of the Madonna della Neve still stands today.

It was due to the size of the Church of the Madonna della Neve, now inadequate for the inhabitants of the castle, which probably followed the construction of the Church of S. Antonio Abate.

The name of the Church of S. Antonio Abate appears in a document, now in the Archive of Asti, for the first time in 1580.

In 1600 it is certain of the construction of the Chapel of St. Antonio located in the homonymous village, at the foot of the hill, once crowned with buildings set up in the fortress and therefore called "castella", now striped rows and distinguished by the white Sanctuary of the Madonna della Neve.

It appears for the first time in a pastoral visit in 1625 together with the Chapel of Vulpilio. For this worthy little church, a population that had grown in size in that first quarter of a century, and dedicated it to the Holy Thaumaturgist.

In 1630 it was found in the minutes of the pastoral visits, for the second time, with that of S. Giobbe.
In 1633 he was again visited by the bishop on a pastoral mission and here he celebrated Mass after visiting the Chapel of Vulpilio and having spent the night at Don Stefano Goria.

After almost 100 years the Chapel of St. Anthony reappears in the records of the curia (1729). It reads "it is of the inhabitants, and it is sufficiently provided." The rectors must reckon with the parish priest" (Mons. Todone).

This property is reconfirmed in the pastoral visit of 1743, which says "Spectatad incolas propinquos", that is "of the neighboring inhabitants, who made it". "It is sufficiently stocked, both for sacred things and for other things"(Mgr. Molissano).

The report continues: "he has a beautiful choir, taught by Don Michele Goria, celebrated at parties and sometimes at fair".

In the visit of 1828 it is said "well if habet in omnibus" that is "everything is in order".
In 1340, Monsignor Filippo Artico wrote: "a little humid, without a clumsy cross, on the bell tower and a bell, all in order".

In 1865 it was declared a branch of Villafranca.