The Rocca of Nozza was built on a rock formation that creates a strategic bottleneck in the passage to the south, presumably towards the end of the first millennium. It is mentioned for the first time in 1198, as a place of detention of 60 nobles from Brescia, taken prisoner by Oberto da Savallo. In 1362 it was destroyed by Bernabò Visconti and in 1401 it was rebuilt by Giovanni Linelli from Castiglione and Simone dell’Orsina, leaders of the Visconti’s army. On November 3, 1401, the emperor of the Holy Roman Germanic Empire, Robert of the Palatinate, granted to Alberghino da Fusio the fief of the middle Valle Sabbia. Between 1410 and 1415 the Rocca was entrusted by Pandolfo Malatesta to Galvano da Nozza for the defense of the Valley by the Visconti of Milan. In 1427 the Valle Sabbia swore fidelity to Venice and, when towards the end of the fifteenth century, Venice began the construction of the Rocca d’Anfo, the Rocca di Nozza definitively lost its role as a bastion of the Valley.
The looming cliff of Rocca di Nozza is made gentler by the small church of S. Stefano protomartire, built probably for the people living atthe Rocca in the XIII century. Together with the nearby chapel dedicated to St. Quirico, it belonged to the jurisdiction of the Parish Church of S. Maria di Provaglio Val Sabbia.
Cited for the first time in a document from the Vatican archives of 1334 – 1335, as well as in 1410 as “Santo Stefano de Noxa”, the church has all the features of the Romanesque-Gothic buildings scattered throughout the countryside and the mountains. Oriented towards the east, it has a gabled structure, anticipated by a churchyard left with grass. The façade has central openings, including a portal and a small quadrangular window on the left side, while in the upper part there is a small rose window which ends with a two-pitched roof.
The interior is in a single room, with a two-pitched wooden roof supported by stone masonry arches, uniformly decorated on the walls. It also presents valuable frescoes on the right side, dating back to the fifteenth-sixteenth century. The presbytery is raised and quadrangular, has a sail cover, and ends in a frescoed apse floor.


  • Nozza (BS)