Archaeological discoveries evidence that the territory of Domanins was inhabited since pre-Roman times. The name of the hamlet, however, appeared for the first time in 1123 in a document which registered the possessions of the Monastery of St. Paul in Lavanttal, in Carinzia.
The civil jurisdiction was subsequently exerted by the earls of Spilimbergo and probably started in the 13th century. Moreover the monastery of St.Paul in Lavanttal and the earls of Porcia had some properties in the hamlet.
From the ecclesiastical point of view the community was subjected to the Parish church of S. Giorgio. In 1479 a parish benefice was instituted and probably the right of the heads of the families to elect the parish priest dates back to that time, a right they waived in 1972.
La chiesa parrocchiale
According to tradition the first church erected at Domanins in the area called “Selva” was dedicated to St. Jerome, but no remains are left of it.
The earliest parish church dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel perhaps dated back to the 12th century and was demolished in 1845. Construction works of the present church started in 1841 and were completed in 1854 by local workers led by master mason Pietro Bisutti; the plan was by Giovanni Battista Cavedalis from Spilimbergo (fig. 50).
The facade is vertically and horizontally squared off by pilasters and cornices; it terminates with a blind tympanum, joined at the angles by two structures ending with small pinnacles.
The bell tower, in Gothic style, was designed by Girolamo D’Aronco, and completed in 1894. In 1919, owing to a whirlwind which destroyed the village, the spire of the bell tower was cut off. It was ruined again by the earthquake of 1976 and the restoration works ended in 1979.
In the interior of the church noteworthy is the altar-piece representing St. Valentine, Pious People and Procession of the Brotherhood (fig. 51). It was painted by Gasparo Narvesa (1558 – 1639) from Pordenone in 1595.
It is considered “one of the best compositions of the artist, who sets the scene in a church, but extends its range composing its figures on a diagonal line and plunging them, particularly those of the women and children in the foreground, into the light which links the interior with the sunny countryside of the landscape beyond the window” (Menegazzi). Noteworthy in the composition are some portraits, those of the mother and of the child on the left, and some still life details: a chalice, three small crucifixes, the iron bars on the windows.
Among the other works which decorate the building, of interest is the 17th century painting with the Annunciation of difficult attribution, pleasant for the use of bright and nicely contrasting colours, for the atmosphere of mystery that hovers about the scene and is transmitted to the characters.
Also the painting with the Virgin of the Rosary, St. Dominic and St. Catherine dates back to the end of 17th century (or to the first years of 18th). It is attributed to an artist of the Friulian school in the style of Lucilio Candido from Venzone, whose paintings are visible in several churches in Friuli.
Among the sculptural works noteworthy is the massive baptismal font (fig. 52) which dates back to the 16th century and the high altar built in the second half of the 18th century by Giuseppe Mattiussi, exponent of a renowned family of altar makers and sculptors from Udine.
St Michael the Archangel (about 1920) and St Valentine look like works of the carving school of Valgardena, while the Virgin (about 1935) is a work by Giuseppe Scalambrin from Fossalta di Portogruaro (1886 – 1967).
Two contemporary works embellish the building, both by Venetian artist and both ceramics: the Stations of the Cross (1981) by Italo Costantini and the Crucifix of the apse (1980) by Antonio Boatto.
The palace is situated along the provincial road which from Zoppola leads to Spilimbergo, on the eastern side of the hamlet.
The first structure of the building dates back to the end of the 14th century and it became the residence of the earls Spilimbergo-Domanins from the 17th century.
The present complex is the result of a structural intervention of the first years of 1800, which maintained, however, the sober and severe aspect. It consists of a three-storey building with rear wings which look on an inside yard used as a garden. The service buildings, once used as spinning mill and service quarters where agricultural activities were performed, are separated from the main body and placed perpendicularly to it.
The facade which looks onto the countryside has the same structure, even if the central building has two projecting four-storey towers at the sides.
Outside the walls, slightly set back from the road, there is a small church dedicated to St. Eurosia, patron saint of the countryside. The portal of the building, attributed to Pilacorte, suggests a 16h century origin of the palace, subsequently restored and enlarged.
Among the works of art preserved in the villa noteworthy is the hall frescoed in the first decades of 1800 by Giovanni Battista Canal and Giuseppe Borsato.
In the garden some sculptures of the contemporary artist Ivan Theimer are now on display.
Villa Spilimbergo-Spanio is private property and is not open to the public.
Il monumento all'emigrante
The monument is a work dedicated to those who left the village looking for work and fortune abroad (fig. 53). It consists of an enclosed area, a shrine which contains a statue of the Virgin with Child and other architectural elements, which lead the visitor on a symbolic journey through the stages of life and to the worlds of emigration.
The monument is clearly visible at the entrance to the hamlet, in the road which from Spilimbergo leads to Zoppola. It was built between 1983 and 1986 and it was inaugurated in the same year by the Bishop Abramo Freschi of Concordia –Pordenone.
The design is by the architect Ettore Polesel from Sacile, while the sculpture of the Virgin with Child who embraces the world represented as a vessel was made by Edo Janich, sculptor and engraver from Pozzo of S. Giorgio della Richinvelda
If the observer stands opposite the monument, he can go along the stages of human life, starting from the birth, where the wall takes shape and raises, surrounded by plants and flowers. The existence in a separate world characteristic of childhood is symbolized by a circular inlet, while the furrows and fractures recollect adolescence. It is followed by adulthood, represented by a door which opens on the wall. The winding part of the wall symbolizes old age: on this part of the wall there is the Bench of Reflection, where the wayfarer sits reflecting on his past life, and the Stone of Meditation, marked by a cross, where man, who is ending his earthly experience, starts thinking about afterlife. The paved area at the base of the shrine consists of twelve concentric circles of small stones: they are the worlds of emigration, whose centre represents the global world.
The vertical structure of the shrine, in the centre of the sacred area, contrasts the ascent towards the sky to the horizontal circle of the earthly journey.
The work is the result of concerted effort done by volunteers, led by Sante Lenarduzzi, with the contribution of the Cassa Rurale ed Artigiana di S. Giorgio (now Friulovest Banca) and of the community of Domanins.
Near Villa Spilimbergo-Spanio, at the opposite side of the road, in Via Belvedere, there are two farmhouses in the typical Friulian architecture. After the 1976 earthquake they have been restored to their original structure. They represents an interesting example of the relation established between man, with his occupations, and the environment (fig. 54).