Monastero di San Remigio

The history of this monument is datable to 10 June 1033, when the Marquis Adalberto, of the Obertenga family and his wife Adelasia endow the Benedictine abbey of S. Maria di Castiglione near Parma with many assets and real estate rights located in various committees of the Italian kingdom At that time the dominion of the Obertenghi extended over a vast area of North Italy, known as Marca Obertenga, to which both Parma and this part of the Apennine belonged and this explains why said abbey was assigned goods in Gavi, Tassarolo and Palaude (Parodi). The name Palaude mentioned in the documents recalls how the territory surrounding the current nucleus of Parodi was marshy. The Benedictine fathers who transferred here reclaimed it, draining the stagnant waters of the Albedosa stream and, at the centre of the valley made fertile and cultivated, they built the Monastery dedicated to S. Remigio. The first documentation on the existence of the Monastery dates to 1143, on 13 April, when a bull of Pope Innocent II confirms the dependence of S. Remigio on S. Maria di Castiglione that, in turn, depends directly on the Holy See. In 1188, S. Remigio already has the nearby Church of S. Stefano as his dependence and in a few years farming communities formed in the surrounding territory, some with their own mayors and therefore freed from the dominion of the Obertenghi. The importance of the S. Remigio complex grows quickly in those years as evidenced by the disputes that ignite not only between the municipalities of Genova and Tortona but among the respective dioceses that compete for this part of the Oltregiogo. The connections with S. Maria di Castiglione Parmenese wain and contemporarily those with Genoa become stronger so much that in an act of 1378 we find the Genoese Aleramo Spinola di Luccoli as Rector of S. Remigio. The territory which belongs to the Monastery is coveted by the Genoese patricians as can be understood scrolling through the list of Priors, Rectors and Abbots belonging to the families of Genoese aristocracy, who managed the Monastery in the subsequent centuries. Towards the mid-16th century, under the patronage of the Doria family. S. Remigio becomes parish church and over the second half of the 17th century the ancient monastery is made into the parish priest’s house and the assets of the old Monastery are sold off. In the first half of the 19th century, the Church once again becomes an important centre of religious life to the point that it is transformed into a three-nave church to tackle the increase in the population. The parish church continues to perform its functions for the entire 19th century and for the first half of the 20th century, but its decentralised position determines the population’s aspiration to have a Church inside the urban perimeter. In 1959, the new parish church is built in Cadepiaggio and the ancient Church of the Benedictine fathers, having lost the role of supremacy held for centuries, is definitively abandoned and knows the darkest years of its long history that culminate with the collapse of the nave vault in 1982. Today the Church, with main axial entrance in the façade and two side entrances from the courtyard, presents three naves: the central one of greater width is divided from the side ones by cruciform pillars. The part of the elevations underneath the bell tower is certainly the oldest; some architectural shapes dating to the initial phases of the foundation of the architectural complex emerge on the walls. The nave is completed by a semi-circular apse preceded by a deep presbytery; on the longitudinal walls of the presbytery open the connections with the two sacristies, the one on the right is the oldest, the one on the left was built in the 20th century. The aisles are illuminated by multi-curve windows and at the larger archway the linear continuity of the wall is interrupted by two side chapels with a quadrangular plan that expand the internal space. The vault of the nave was lost with the collapse in 1982, but traces of it remain as evidence of the presence of five cross vaults. The pillars, with base, are made of local squared stone blocks and bricks in overlapping sections. An elliptical dome with a major axis parallel to the façade covers the presbytery and is topped by a lantern, also elliptical based. The semi-cylindrical apse presents a central niche at the sides of which two windows open up of the same shape as the lantern above the dome. Today it can be visited during events and exhibitions.