CHURCH OF SANTA MARTA
The origin of the church of Santa Marta is unknown. It certainly dates back to before the fifteenth century when it was remembered as a chaplaincy entrusted to the canons of Incino; it was dedicated to Santa Marta in 1612.
Between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, the records of the pastoral visits describe a building in poor condition, in a “deplorable state”, as Carlo Borromeo wrote. It was only in the course of the nineteenth century that the complete reconstruction took place.
The current church has fascinated historians and art critics with its Bramante-influenced architecture. In fact, the project of the new building was entrusted to the engineer Bellati, grandson of the architect Giocondo Albertolli, who gave him his studies, including that of the chapel of Sant’Antonio da Padova in the convent of San Francesco d ‘ Assisi of Lugano.
This chapel, attributed to Bramante, was put up for sale by the municipality of Lugano and purchased by the Milanese count Andreani for his villa in Moncucco in Brugherio: it was literally dismantled and reassembled, under the direction of Albertolli.
The exterior of the building is in exposed stone and brick: it was not covered with plaster due to lack of funds.
On the main square body, towards the small square in front, the facade surmounted by a tympanum and on which you can glimpse a rose window still walled above the entrance portal, which is accessed via a short staircase. The classroom represents the largest part of the structure and is surmounted by a drum with a skylight.
The sacristy room emerges along the right side. The rear part of the church is visible only from the road: you can see the upper area of the apse and the bell tower that rises at the end of the left side.
The interior, with a Greek cross plan, is divided into three bays and three naves: the main one ends with the presbytery, while the two side ones with altars; these are also characterized, at the beginning and at the end, by a domed roof.
The side chapels dedicated to Sant’Anna and San Pietro martyr present in the previous church no longer exist.
The decoration, from the 1960s / 1970s, was created by the painters Mario Cornali and Candido Baggi.
In the right aisle, along the wall at the height of the second bay, there is a fresco depicting the Resurrection of Lazarus; at the end, the altar dedicated to San Bernardino da Siena (saint to whom the people of Erba are very devoted and to whom the street where the church of Santa Marta is dedicated is dedicated), houses a nineteenth-century altarpiece with San Bernardino while assisting a patient with cholera, made by Francesco Valperta, a pupil of Hayez.
The upper area of the presbytery is characterized by a monochrome decoration; from right to left we recognize: the Expulsion of Adam and Eve from the earthly paradise, the Sacrifice of Isaac, the Sacrifice of Melchizedek and the original Sin.
In the upper part of the left aisle, the altar dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary is adorned with a seventeenth-century canvas by Luigi Pellegrino Scaramuccia who frequented Guido Reni’s workshop: the Coronation of the Virgin among saints.
Remaining in the same nave, you can see on the wall the fresco depicting Jesus in the house of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, located opposite that of the Resurrection of Lazarus. Finally, the main nave has a vault with dome and skylight; the four Evangelists are represented on the sails..