The church of St. Mary with Portico
The Church of St. Mary is mentioned in several documents dating back to the twelfth century (before the island was destroyed). The portico is cited in a deed dated 1145. The Church was first discovered in 1949 by L. M. Belloni. Ugo Monneret de Villard, who had excavated on the island in 1914, could not find the exact location of the church.
First Excavation Campaign
The remains of the church were unearthed by L. M. Belloni during the excavations of 1958 thanks to a grant from the Lombardy Office of Antiquities.
The building is a single hall with a semicircular apse facing East (exterior measurements 30 x 9.70 m). A rectangular room identified as a portico ran across the flattened rocky surface in front of the church. The ruins of many of the walls can still be seen. The floors are made of grey Moltrasio limestone.
Excavation revealed the existence of an earlier apsed building, perhaps a small chapel built during the Early Christian era (fifth century).
Thanks to fragments of frescoes found among the rubble, the most recent church has been dated to the Romanesque period (eleventh-twelfth centuries).
Some fragments of drinking vessels and frescoes unearthed during excavation are currently preserved in the Antiquarium.
Under the direction of the Archaeological Heritage Office of Lombardy the site was cleared during 2009-2010. The conditions of preservation were recorded and new photo and drawing campaigns undertaken.