It is a flat area situated between the main village, S. Giorgio, and Rauscedo, and it is mentioned in the history of Friuli for the ambush to the Patriarch of Aquileia Bertrando of St. Geniès which happened near the ancient church of S. Nicolò on June 6, 1350.
The Church of S. Nicolò
The small church of S. Nicolò at the Richinvelda (fig. 10) is one of the several churches built in the Friulian territory with devotional purposes.
It is dedicated to St. Nicholas and acquired historical relevance in connection with the assassination of the French Patriarch of Aquileia Bertrand from St. Geniès who, after being stabbed in the plain of the Richinvelda on June 6, 1350, was carried into the church where he died.
The earliest building dating back to the 13th or 14th century, probably consisted of a porch, a rectangular room and a semi-circular apse. Remains of this construction, are the external walls of different thickness, and the two small windows on the south wall of the nave which reflect Romanesque schemes (slightly embrasured with a narrow quadrangular opening). The building was rearranged in successive stages until it became an oblong construction where the porch, the room, the presbytery, the small chapel dedicated to the Blessed Bertrand are ideally joined outside by the light pattern of the small suspended arches forming a moulding under the roof. Of the old frescos which decorated the exterior little remains except for a fragment on the south wall representing St. Christopher and the Child dating back to the 15th century.
The stone altar of the church (fig. 11), dedicated to S. Nicholas, is the work of the renowned stone-cutter of the time, the Lombard Giovanni Antonio da Carona known as Pilacorte (1455-1531). It was made in 1497, as stated in the inscription on the base (ODORICUS PVTEVS IOANNES TRANSMONTINVUS/ ET COLLEGGAE DE MAnDATV FRATERNITATIS F.F. OPVS IOANIS/ ANTONII PILACO/HORTIS SPLImBErgensis/1497/APRILIS), and consists of a tripartite altar-piece with a widely decorated moulding, terminating with a lunette which reminds the works of the Tuscan masters of the 15th century. In the three sections from the left the figures of St. Nicholas, the Virgin Mary with Child and of S. Fortunate are jutting out, while in the lunette there are the symbols of the Evangelists. The altar piece is topped by the bust of God the Father. The figures, not very neatly shaped, appear rather static, although the drapery shows a certain refinement and suggests the idea of movement.
The work reveals the hand of a sculptor inspired by folk tradition who seems to translate into simplified models the lesson learnt from the great Lombard masters. It must be pointed out, however, that the reading of the work is compromised by the state of conservation of the colour which probably covered the figures since its origin.
The stone frontal below is of the 17th century (the date 1667 could be read until some decades ago) and is formed by a slab with a big cross in the centre among geometrical figures in bas relief, framed by a large decoration with vine-shoots. It was made for the high altar of the parish church of S. Giorgio, where the banister with similar motifs can still be seen, and it is attributed to a master of the Ciotta family, stone-cutters from Meduno.
The nave and the choir were decorated by the painter Antonio del Toso from Udine in 1901, with geometrical decorative motifs alternating figured scenes. On the walls of the room two episodes of the life of the Blessed Bertrand are represented: The Charity of the Blessed Bertrand and his Assassination, inspired by Medieval wood panels preserved in the Cathedral in Udine.
In the chapel, behind the presbytery, a rectangular area with a wooden frame shows the place where the Patriarch died. On the wall there is the inscription “ HIC INTERFECTUS FUIT BERTRANDUS PATRIARCA AQUILEJE(NSIS) IN PARTUS VIRGINIS M3L OCTAVO ID JUNII…". It was removed from the old memorial stone, that had been built in the nearby field on the place where the Patriarch was stabbed to death by his enemies, in 1950 and placed inside to rescue it from the wear of time.
In 1894 a small obelisk in Neo-gothic style replaced the previous memorial stone (fig. 12) and a part of the ancient inscription was set in the new construction. According to historians this fragment could date back to some years after the death of the Patriarch.