Apse and Bell Tower of the Church of Saint Eusebio in Perti.

Spanish Majolica for the Ribbed Bell Tower in Perti

The unusual medieval ribbed bell tower of the church of Saint Eusebio in Perti stands out against the rural surroundings of Finale Ligure.

The tower is decorated with “basins” made of polychrome majolica and Spanish “azulejos” [t.n.: azulejo is tin-glazed ceramic tilework] dating back to the second half of the 15th century. Using decorative ceramic on bell towers and churches is a common feature in medieval architecture.

MORE INFORMATION – Apse and Bell Tower of the Church of Saint Eusebio in Perti.

During the second half of the 15th century, the apse of the Romanesque style church of Saint Eusebio in Perti was rebuilt into a polygonal layout of the late-Medieval architectural style. On the inside, heavy pointed arched ribs divide the church section of the apse before joining in a keystone in Finale Stone carved into the image of the “Agnus Dei” (Latin: Lamb of God).

A small ribbed bell tower was built on top of the new apse. The tower ends with a sloping roof which is surmounted by three small pinnacles and has an underlying decorative pattern of small intertwined laterite brick arches. Right above the two openings meant to house the church bells, a large cross was made using twenty-six (26) large polychrome majolica azulejos tiles produced in Valencia and decorated with the so-called cuerda seca (Spanish: dry cord) glazing technique.
The basins (i.e. small 15th-century majolica bowls) in the middle and at the apexes of the cross are also of Spanish provenance. Nowadays, only two of the original Valencian pieces are still in place. The ISH trigram of Jesus’ name is inscribed in the middle of each basin in Gothic lettering made of burnished metal lustre. Alongside the lettering is a fine decorative pattern of “bryonia (or parsley) leaves” [t.n. bryonia is a plant of the gourd family] in cobalt blue.

Alfredo d’Andrade, the well-known restorer of Piedmontese and Ligurian medieval monuments, was so impressed with the tower that in 1883 he made a watercolour which now hangs in the City Gallery of Modern Art in Turin.

In Finale the medieval tradition of decorating religious buildings with ceramic “basins” continued through the 15th century, as with the bell towers of the churches of Saint Biagio in Finalborgo, Saint Bartolomeo in Gorra and Saint John the Baptist in Bardino.



How to reach the site

On foot or by bike from Finalborgo, take Strada Berretta (Italian: the Beretta Road), or access the connecting road to Perti Alta at Località San Sebastiano where it leaves the provincial road to Calice Ligure.


Bookings for tours are available as part of the “Open door Open art” Project endorsed by MUDIF.


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