ALZANO AND ITS BASILICA: at the start of the eleventh century, the ancient praedium Alicianum, not so far from Bergamo direction Valle Seriana, was still little more than a hamlet. Its first church, dedicated to Saint Martin, constructed in the Romanesque style, with a wooden-beamed roof, was probably first built in 1023 with a nave but no aisles. Over the following centuries, Alzano grew in importance, and the town was released from its subordination to the jurisdiction of the minor parish of Nembro, to which it had been subjected up to that time. However, only after a period of repeated disputes lasting about hundred years did Alzano obtain full
autonomy, in 1457. In the meantime, between 1421 and 1442, a larger building was constructed, with the addition of an unfaced masonry bell tower in 1486. This was the church that Saint Charles Borromeo, during his apostolic visit of 1575, described as “a forma quadrata, disposta a tre navate di cui quella di mezzo a soffitto di legno che, benché dipinto, non sorte bell’effetto; inoltre la nave minaccia rovina e deve essere assicurata. Ha la facciata ancora grezza e il presbiterio incompiuto” (square in form, arranged with two aisles and nave, the nave being with a wooden ceiling which, although painted, is unattractive. The nave is also in a very poor state of repair and must be bolstered. The façade is still unfaced and the presbytery is incomplete). Some repair work was started immediately. But it was only in 1656 – when a large bequest of 70,000 gold ducats for the “fabbrica” (building) of the church of San Martino was left by a wealthy local merchant, Nicolò Valle – that the Fabbriceria (the church works and conservation committee), which operated with considerable circumspection, care and attention, was able to plan full renovation of the existing structure.
The project was entrusted to the architect, Gerolamo Quadrio, one of the more interesting exponents of the Baroque style of Lombardy. Quadrio was for some years superintendent of the Fabbrica (works) of the cathedral in Milan. Work began in 1659. The old masonry pillars were replaced in 1667 with elegant Zandobbio marble monolithic twin columns. In 1669, the vault was entirely reconstructed, to be stuccoed at a later date. The wooden roofing structures executed at that time feature admirable carpentry work.
Thereafter, up to the close of the eighteenth century and the fall of the Republic of Venice, with a view to completing the project, adornments were constantly added to the building. In 1679, the Chapel of the Rosary was completed, and the three sacristies set around the chapel itself – reflecting a notable sense of composition in their arrangement – were completed with adornments and fittings. The church fine flooring (1751) features intersecting lozenge-shaped slabs of local marble (Zandobbio white, Gazzaniga black and Entratico pink). With the addition of the lavish side altars, stucco work and frescoes, and with the rebuilding at the close of the century of the presbytery and choir, the church could be considered complete. Only the facade remained to be built. The façade had been left unfinished for two hundred years. The upper unfaced brick walling, although a work of no particular refinement, was not without a certain charm and liveliness, while also conveying a sense of rigour. Only at the close of the nineteenth century, thanks to the final project of the architect, Virginio Muzio, did the three Zandobbio marble portals (dating back to 1751 and designed by Quadrio) finally take their place on the completed facade. 
The Basilica of ST. Martin Bishop

The Basilica of ST. Martin Bishop