ISSIME (Aosta Valley)


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The community
Issime (Eischeme) belongs to the Walser community of the upper Lys valley. The presence of those populations, of German descent, was officially recorded in 1239. It is commonly believed though that they were already living in the area since a few generations. The Walsers, in fact, moved into the upper Rhone valley in the IX century, and, through the Teodulo and Monte Moro mountain passes, they relocated in the highlands around Mount Rosa.

It is easy to recognize their northern descent in their toponyms, and in the typical stadel buildings (especially in the St. Grato valley). Their local dialect, called t÷itschu, is probably the most archaic of all the Walser dialect spoken around Europe.



The parish
The first historical record of its existence is a papal bull by Pope Lucio III dated May 7th 1184.
At the beginning of the XII century it became independent from the Perloz parish, that originally included all the Vallesiae community. This name, that originally indicated the entire Lys valley community, originated fram the family name of the local feudal lords. For over five centuries the Issime parish territory included also Gressoney St. Jean and Gressoney La TrinitŔ. In the Issime parish's territory there are several chapels. For the most part they were built during the XVII century.



The church
The present building is the reconstruction of a previous church, mentioned in the notary deeds of the XIV century, and that is still visible in a few traces on the lateral wall to the left.
The Fašade was completely painted between 1698 and 1700 by Francesco Biondi from Ginevra, with scenes from the last judgment.
To define the borders of the square are 15 niches depicting the Rosary Mysteries. They were built in 1755 and painted by Antonio Facio, a painter from Valprato in Valsoana.

The High Altar is the most important piece of art of the church, and one of the most remarkable Baroque monuments of the Aosta Valley region.
In 1986 was opened the parish museum of sacred art, located at the end of the lateral naves. Among the objects worth to be mentioned there are the statue of St. Giacomo (XV century), St. Barbara, chalices, astylar crosses, chasubles and missals. Among the others, the Missal at incunambulum from Basilea (probably made in 1490), a rare and precious document of the business exchanges that people from Issime had in the past with the German part of Switzerland.



How to reach us
From Pont Saint Martin ( FF.SS. railway station or Gate of the Torino-Aosta Highway ) you take the regional road of Gressoney and climb for 15 kilometers.
The addresses to get in touch with the parish are:

Parrocchia di San Giacomo Apostolo
Piazza Comunale 1, 11020 Issime (AO)
phone: +39-0125-344010


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Last updated on:11/11/2003