S. ANDREA COLLEGIATE CHURCH
The origins of the church go back to before the year 1000, as documented by remains uncovered in 1879. The first written document testifying to its existence is dated 1098 and reveals that, even then, the complex of Sant'Andrea formed a parish; the priory was added in 1171.
Following the Destructio Saviliani - the destruction of Savigliano in 1360 by the troops of Amadeus VI of Savoy, at war with Giacomo d'Acaja ? the orientation of the church, which had been almost completely razed, was changed, moving the façade from the west side to the east so that it would overlook what is now Via Sant'Andrea.
In the late seventeenth century the French used the church as a hospital, causing considerable damage. As a result, at the beginning of the eighteenth century the decision was made to renovate it completely, including construction of a new presbytery, a choir and the high altar.
The current layout with a nave and four aisles was planned by the architect Andrea Benedetto Vay (after 1728), who also designed the new bell tower (1737) that was elevated by Giuseppe Gallo in 1928. The decorative façade was completed in 1731. It was named a collegiate church in 1737.
In 1756-57 Vay's work was effectively completed with the construction of the south aisle, whereas the choir and presbytery were redesigned at that time by Pietro Antonio Beltramelli.
The chapel of San Nicola di Bari is at the base of the bell tower and is the only surviving element of the original edifice. It is richly decorated with frescoes, including a Virgin and Child Enthroned, one of the oldest paintings in Savigliano (thirteenth century), and a series of works illustrating the life of Saint Nicholas. In one of them, the saint is giving coins to three young girls so they will not be forced to sell their bodies.
The complex contains countless other works of art: from the
altar of San Giuseppe, executed after plans by Filippo Juvarra (it
has held the remains of Princess Isabella of Savoy-Carignan since
1767), to the paintings by Giovanni Angelo Dolce, Giovanni Antonio
Molineri, Jean Claret and Giovanni Francesco Gagini. The high altar
designed by Giovanni Valle, is exquisite.