pieve-santa-maria-a-loppia credit: Massimo Pia

Santa Maria parish church in Loppia

The Church was most likely built in the 6th century when the area was reorganised by the Bishop San Frediano. San Frediano was born in Ireland to a noble family. Around 560 he was elected Bishop of Lucca and is said to have founded a church for every year of his mandate, i.e. 28, and he is also said to have miraculously diverted the course of the River Serchio.

The oldest evidence of the existence of the church dates back to 845 when it was mentioned in a ‘livello’ (a lease of agricultural land) for a house with land in the village of Cascio "Actum finibus Castronovo ad plebem S. Marie in Loppia". The parish of Loppia stretched along the left bank of the Serchio from Riana to Tereglio. In 1058 the Bishop of Lucca, Anselmo da Baggio, who would later become Pope Alexander II, came to Loppia to consecrate the building after it was restructured and expanded, and then, in 1256, Pope Alexander IV granted a baptismal font to Barga.

In 1260 we can find the Church of Loppia listed in the catalogue of tithes to fund the Crusade launched by Pope Alexander IV. Over the decades the church gradually lost its importance, and finally, in 1390, with the seal of the Bishop of Lucca Giovanni III Salvuzzi, the parish was officially ‘transferred’ from Loppia to Barga.

On the left corner we can clearly see a repair made after an incident that occurred during World War II when a tank, while attempting to manoeuvre around the Church, damaged the structure.

Source: La guida di Barga

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