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Parish church of the Saints Cornelio and Cipriano – Codiponte

XI century parish church in Casola in Lunigiana

The parish church of Codiponte, in the Comune di Casola in Lunigiana, is among the most fascinating and artistically rich in the territory of the ancient Diocese of Luni; with its figured capitals, its austere and balanced shape and its artistic masterpieces it is a true paradigm of the Lunigiana Romanesque. The parish church stands on the right bank of the Aulella, near a bridge beyond which the ruins of the castle of the Bianchi d’ Erberia from the 11th century can be seen in the distance. This area is a true exemplification of the Lunigiana prehistoric remains and a strategic transit area the place name also gives testimony to.

Of formidable importance, it is among the oldest religious buildings that have been preserved and appears in documents from the 8th century when perhaps it had baptismal functions (a large immersion font found during archaeological excavations carried out in the 1960s).
Here, in an area inhabited at least since the early Iron Age (VII-V century BC), two important itineraries crossed: one for Garfagnana and the other one between the sea, the Apuan Alps and the north .
The present building can be traced back to the 12th century, period to which both the main apse and the capitals sculpted with images taken from the typical High Medieval repertoire belong. Inside can be seen the remains of the previous church: the baptismal font and the perimeter of the base of the bell tower, perhaps the remains of an ancient defense tower.

Over the centuries, the building has been altered several times with renovations that in the 19th and 20th centuries tried to bring it back to its original lines, even after the damage caused by the earthquakes of 1834 and 1920.

The triptych of the Madonna and Child between the Holy Face and the saints Cornelius and Cyprian is very beautiful. Attributed in the past to the Sienese Angelo Puccinelli, more recently said to be the work of “Master of Montefloscoli ” who probably worked on it in the 15th century.
The surrounding area is interesting, in particular the rectory building from behind which the remains of a tower house (perhaps from the 13th century) are clearly visible, showing only the opening of three well-preserved loopholes on the ground floor. This is the most evident evidence of how a fortified complex, which had two very significant elements in the parish church and in the bridge, existed here in medieval times.

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