The collegiate church of Santa Maria in Fontibus


The oldest sanctuary in the city, dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption and mentioned for the first time in 1162, is commonly known as Santa Maria in fontebus because of some sources considered miraculous that once existed under the presbytery. Its location next to the Cathedral, to which it was connected by a set of buildings, including the fifteenth-century cloister of the Canons, demolished in 1902 for the enlargement of Via Enrico D'Aste and the opening of Piazza IV Novembre, has led to the hypothesis that the two churches formed a monumental complex of "double cathedral". The consequent retreat of the front led to the amputation of the first span and the destruction of the seventeenth-century fresco on the counter-façade with the effigy of the Virgin protecting the city, depicted in detail at its feet enclosed in its walls.

Of early medieval origin, the church had a particular jurisdiction ad familias, that is, reserved for certain families, in Albenga and in the village of San Fedele, with properties that extended into the Val Lerrone. Confirmed in 1162 by Pope Alexander III to the bishop of Milan Oberto, the collegiate church remained dependent on the Milanese archdiocese until the sixteenth century, to return under the jurisdiction of the bishop of Albenga at the time of the Council of Trent. Of the changes made to the building in the century. The 14th facade still has: the stone portal with splay decorated with several columns and, in the niche superimposed on the lunette, a marble statue of the Virgin and Child; the three-light window above the portal, richly adorned with Gothic decorations, found walled up under the plaster during the demolition of 1903.

The fourteenth-century church, with three naves with black stone columns, was demolished from its foundations and rebuilt in the years 1612-1625. The new church, built in Renaissance style, still has three naves with masonry columns finished in glossy stucco, barrel vault in the central nave and sail in the side ones; the vault of the presbytery is decorated with neoclassical rose windows and the whole monument is enriched with modern decorations and gilded stuccoes.

Inside you can admire: the monumental high altar (1714), on which stands the massive marble statue of the Assumption, a Genoese sculpture dating back to 1622; the wooden crucifix of Roman origin (1638) on the altar of the same name; the altarpiece depicting the Madonna with Child and the SS. Cosma and Damiano, by Orazio De Ferrari (1639); the marble altar and the processional group of the Madonna del Carmine (1714); the processional wooden sculptures of S. Isidoro the Farmer (1906) and of S. Lucia (1983), testifying to the most recent devotions.

In the bell tower, raised in successive stages in the years 1657, 1701, 1802, a funerary stone of the 2nd century AD was walled up externally with an inscription that commemorates M. Vibullio Proculo (who died seventeen) and his mother Vibullia Procula, citizens of the ancient Albingaunum, as evidenced by the mention of the Publilia tribe to which the Roman municipality was ascribed.