The ancient Parish of Loppia was probably built in the sixth century during the territorial reorganization by the bishop and Saint Fridianus. Saint Fridianus was born in Ireland from a noble family and, around the 560, was elected bishop of Lucca. He is said to have founded a church for each year of his term, in total 28, and that he miraculously diverted the course of the river Serchio.
One of the oldest pieces of evidence about the existence of the church dates from 845 when it was named in a ‘level’ (lease of agricultural land) on 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, the future Pope Alexander II, came to Loppia to consecrate the structure after it was reconstructed and expanded.
In 1256 Pope Alexander IV granted a baptismal font to Barga and in 1260 the parish church of Loppia was listed in medieval documents as helping to fund the Crusade launched by Pope Alexander IV.
Over the decades, the church gradually lost its importance until, in 1390, under the Bishop of Lucca Giovanni III Salvuzzi, the parish was officially ‘transferred’ from Loppia to Barga.
On the left corner we can clearly see the repairs made after the Second World War, when a tank, in an attempt to pass beside the church, damaged the structure.
– adapted from Pieve di Santa Maria Assunta in Loppia, fede arte e storia, gelli edizioni 2008
– Photo by bargainfotografia.com