Collegiate Church of St. Michael
At the heart of Contigliano Alto (Upper Contigliano), overlooking the whole village, is the majestic Collegiate Church of St. Michael, with its beautiful 17th-century façade made out of local stone and decorated with applied columns. The building was designed by Italian architect Giovanni Antonio de Rossi, who also designed several churches and noble residences in Rome.
Inside, the single-nave church is a triumph of Baroque architecture, with three chapels on each side commissioned by noble local families; each include a painting and the respective coat of arms. The ceiling is covered in wonderful white stucco decorations and, together with the huge golden apse at the end, it creates an ambience of great pomp and elegance.
On the high altar - above which is a superb painting of the Archangel Michael, Contigliano’s patron saint - there is a aedicula made of carved golden wood. Another notable element is the 18th-century pipe organ, with thirty-one pipes and an ebony and ivory keyboard, whereas the old choir is located inside the sacristy, next to a small, richly decorated chapel.
Outside the collegiate church and the Porta de’ Santi gate you can visit the crypt, linked to the main church and dating back to the same period. Inside, all the walls and ceiling are white, making for a simpler architecture compared to the church, but extremely refined nevertheless.