Paruzzaro: the Church of San Marcello
(11th century)

This secluded, little church lies on the chain of hills that divides Lake Orta from Lake Maggiore, traditionally called Vergante.

From outside it looks simple, almost shabby, but as soon as you cross the threshold of the square wooden portal an incredible series of colourful murals is revealed to you, both on the side-walls and in the apse.
The old church was built in the 11th century together with a tall and slender campanile, still very well preserved. The simple, aisleless interior emphasies the unexpected richness of the late medieval frescoes depicting on the right wall the Passion of Christ, and on the left one a delicate, elegant Madonna with child, dated 1488: this last was realised as an ex-voto, a votive offering to the Holy Virgin for having protected the inhabitants of of Paruzzaro from a terrible plague epidemic.