Churches, baptisteries

Pieve di San Giacomo di Colombaro


The church is only open for religious services.

Ownership: Municipality of Modena


The Romanesque church is situated near the ancient route of Via Vandelli. The building already stood in 1127 when Fredolfo, provost of the Cathedral of Modena, granted land to the Church of Saint James the Apostle, situated in Colombaro, in honour of Santa Maria di Marola.

The construction of the church, with adjoining monastery and hostel, may have taken place between 1125 and 1132 by the Monks of Santa Maria di Marola, a Benedictine Abbey founded by Matilda of Tuscany in the Reggiano Apennines. Its dedication to Saint James would suggest that it was erected along a medieval pilgrimage route and was a stopover for those who, coming from Reggio and from Modena, prepared to cross the Apennines towards Rome. During the fifteenth century, the monastery held one of the largest agricultural properties in the diocese of Modena. The church became a parish church in the seventeenth century, undergoing Baroque style transformations with altars and furnishings in keeping with the taste of the time. Other changes were made over the centuries that followed: a stone plaque in the nave documents the 1670 restorations by the commendatory abbot Cardinal Giacomo Rospigliosi, while other restorations by the commendatory abbot Conte Filippo Giuseppe Marchisio are documented by a marble plaque dated 1773. The work carried out in the twentieth century aimed to restore the original Romanesque appearance to the church.

The façade was rebuilt in 1963, the year carved on the architrave of the main entrance, together with the name of Ludovico Aggazzotti who commissioned the work. Though rebuilt, the present-day mullioned window preserves the leafy Romanesque capital of the old building. Other original features include the single-light windows on the southern side and the plinth along the sides, the external ashlar wall in sandstone and a small mullioned window, visible between the church and the presbytery, where a restored column made up of one single block comprising both base and capital was placed in recent decades. The bell tower dates back to the mid 18th century.

Inside, the church has a latin cross plan, with a single nave with wooden roof connected to the apse and to the two side chapels surmounted by cross vaults. At the back is the large 18th century canvas with Saint James the Apostle, depicted with the book and pilgrim’s staff, in front of a vessel (which according to tradition carried the remains of the saint from the Holy Land to Galicia). On either side are two eighteenth century canvases with Saint Geminianus and Saint Roch. The sumptuous altar with marble inlay dates back to the mid eighteenth century.


(Source: "I luoghi sacri dell'arte – itinerari nelle chiese modenesi di proprietà comunale" - Comune di Modena- Artestampa, 1994)



From the city of Modena, take Via Pietro Giardini in the direction of Formigine and there, at the roundabout with Via Sant'Antonio, take the Provincial Road no.16 towards Castelnuovo/Colombaro as far as the first roundabout of the village, from which you can see the church façade, situated at no. 62 Via Sant'Antonio.

From the Modena Nord motorway exit, take the Tangenziale Nord and then the Nuova Via Estense as far as the roundabout in Colombaro. Turn right into the Provincial Road 16 towards Formigine. The church is the last building as you leave the village, on the left at no. 62 Via Sant'Antonio.

From the Modena Sud motorway exit take Via Vignolese towards Modena as far as the roundabout with Nuova Via Estense. Take this street and continue as far as the roundabout in Colombaro. Turn right, taking the Provincial Road no. 16 towards Formigine. The church is the last building as you leave the village, on the left at no. 62 Via Sant'Antonio.

Last update: 16/07/2020