Historical sources

San Sebastiano Church, also dedicated to Saint Mary of Mercy, was built by the so-called Consorzio della Misericordia di S. Maria (MIA). The exact year of construction is uncertain, even though it already existed in 1408, when the notary Obertino da Clusone, passing away, left some possessions to the MIA: in return, a mass in his honour would have to be said in the church every day.

The construction works

The layout feature one single nave, divided by two pointed arches into three aisles. Originally, it used to be just a little church with one aisle. The altar used to be located where the main entrance is, while the entrance – with possibly a small churchyard – was at the beginning of Corna street.
The building is made of humble materials: herringbone “borlanti” cobblestones smoothed naturally by the water; stones on the corners and also randomly placed during following renovations; bricks around the windows.  

The interiors

The Polyptych, an interesting and well-executed work of art dating back to the third and the fourth decade of XVI century, is located above the main Altar in black marble with polychrome inserts, inside a baroque frame in stucco.
Quite surprisingly, during the last refurbishment works also many precious frescoes were discovered on the walls of the original church. Some of them date back to the late XIV Century
On both sides of the entrance, the walls are decorated with pictures of the Saints, portrayed in all their static serenity wearing rich garments and holding their attributes.
On the upper part of the right wall there is Saint Francis, a Saint Bishop, a Madonna with Child, St. Christopher, St Margaret, the Coronation of the Virgin and Saint Stefano. Right below there is a Saint Cristopher standing in the water where fishes and an octopus are swimming; moreover, we can also admire a beautiful Virgin with Child and an Adoration of the Magi, where a dashing King (a portrait of a donor, maybe?) pays tribute to the Child, while Saint Joseph is sleeping and a woman is cleaning. Under that, we can see a Madonna and Child, some fragments of Christ in Pity where a sword is perfectly visible and a few Saints as well.
There is also a Prayer in the Garden, where Jesus is oddly beardless, featuring some elegant clovers near the goblet. On the opposite side, the frescoes represent a St Antonio Abate, an Evangelist, A Saint Sebastian (?) wearing pointed shoes and a fancy ribbon around his long blond hair.
Moreover, there is also an Announced Mary holding a book, Saint Magdalen, a Holy Virgin of the Milk, a St. Alessandro holding a standard and St. Antonio Abate.
These naïve figures are both elegant and refined in their colourful garments, showing the deep popular devotion of the past.
The most interesting wall is the one where the altar used to be.
Even though it is heavily damaged by the opening of the entrance portal and the window, you can still see some pieces from the Passion of Christ, divided into some squares framed by written words.
These pictures are very different from the other ones discovered in Nembro: the subjects are more dynamic and colourful, and can be dated back to the early XV century. 
In the upper side you can see the different episodes: Judas counting the money, Judas’ Kiss and the cutting of the ear, Jesus meeting Caiaphas, the Flagellation, Jesus in front of Pontius Pilate.
Under these scenes, we can admire the Crowning with Thorns, Jesus meeting the pious women on the way up to Golgotha and fragments of the Crucifixion, which would be placed in the middle part. Following, Jesus laid in the tomb and in the last panel the Angel who announces the Pious women that Jesus is risen.
On the same portion, we can also see a Virgin with Child, a Crucifixion, a Prayer in the Garden, St. Onofrio and a Saint Bishop.
Inside the chapel of Our Lady of Sorrows, opened in 1866, there is a painting portraying the Pity, ascribed to the Nembro-based painted Giovanni Carobbio (1687-1752).
The small pipe organ (XVII Century) currently located inside the chapel is probably a donation from a rich local family.
The following paintings are hanging on the other walls: Ascension of the Cross by Giovanni Carobbio, Flagellation, Deposition from the Cross, and Jesus praying in the Garden of Olives by unknown authors.

Reference stop:
Nembro Centro

Distance: 0,7 KM
Extimated time:
  • 3 min.
  • 7 min.
How to reach Chiesa di San Sebastiano

From the tram stop, go towards Piazza Umberto I. The Church is located in via Garibaldi, in the old town.

Points of Interest