Santa Maria in Albis Church’s organ

The church appears on a square lined with buildings of the seventeenth – eighteenth centuries.
The organ is at the back of the nave, on a large platform overlooking the main entrance.

Typology Furniture

Period Eighteenth

Accessibility No

Visitable Yes

Lombard organs (or Piedmontese in Fontan) found in the five churches of the Roya Valley were built or restored for these churches in the nineteenth century. Fontan and Breil’s organs (eighteenth century) were built or reconditioned. The ensemble is a precious artistic heritage. They were restored during the 1970s – 1980s under the leadership of the organists Sant and Saorgin. Along with the other organs of the Savoyard, the Bevera and the Vermenagna Royal Route, they host an international organ festival every summer.

Breil’s organ and its baroque case were made in Turin in the eighteenth century. It is not directly documented, but it could be identified cross-checking the observations and circumstances of its acquisition.

The instrument was designed for the Holy Shroud brotherhood chapel of Turin by the brothers Concone, and its cabinet by the cabinet maker Giuseppe Stroppiani, according to the drawings of the architect Vittone, member of the brotherhood of the Shroud . The gilding is due to Giuseppe Riccardi.

The baroque rococo style buffet, 4 meters high, 3 meters wide and 1 meter deep, is framed by two large balconies with foliage railings in carved, painted and gilded wood.

The large facade pipes are in three groups in the opening of the buffet.

Above the pipes, the buffet is decorated with carved gilded wood; the frame consists of scrolls forming an open lyre, characteristic of the work of Vittone. In the center, in a radiant setting, an old setting (presumably linked to its Turinese origins) was replaced by cherubs while Breil had just been attached to France.

The coronation of the buffet is a decor of carved gilt foliage.

Two lateral columns, supported by cherubs, frame it.

Friezes, foliage and other carved cherubs complete this decor.

The baroque style railing of the tribune is decorated with carved, painted and gilded wooden panels representing musical instruments.

With a 51-key keyboard and 12-note pedals, the organ has a 5-row ripieno, a cornetto, flutes and, rare thing in the Italian bill, a drone.

Conditions of visit

Santa Maria in Albis church is located on Brancion squate, in the immediate vicinity of RD 6204 road and public car parks.
Easy access to the church. Nearby parking is possible. Nevertheless there are four steps to climb; the access ramp was not completed in 2018.
Daily opening to the public (from 8am to 6pm). Free access.
Visiting conditions may be imposed during ceremonies and Sunday Mass. The organ sideboard is visible from the nave. Several concerts all year long (see tourist office).


Additional information


  • Saorgin René, Les orgues de nos vallées, Magazine « le Haut-Pays » n°1, Les Editions du Cabri, Breil-sur-Roya, 1984
  • Bernard Michèle, Les orgues de la vallée : Tende et Fontan, Magazine « le Haut-Pays » n°2, Les Editions du Cabri, Breil-sur-Roya,1984.
  • Bernard Michèle, L’orgue de la Brigue, Magazine « le Haut-Pays » n°5, Les Editions du Cabri, Breil-sur-Roya, 1985.
  • Rodi Silvano, Saorgin René, Orgues historiques des vallées de la Roya et de la Bevera, Les Editions du Cabri, Breil-sur-Roya, 2003.