The tiny village of Elva (population 103) is located high in the Maira Valley (1,637 meters above sea level)l. On the road to Elva, you pass alpine valleys, mountain peaks and some of Piemonte’s most spectacular scenery.
Elva’s Romanesque parish church, Santa Maria Assunta, (1355) contains a cycle of frescoes dating back to 1493 by a French painter of Flemish origin who was known only as the Master of Elva. Historians have since identified the artist by his real name, Hans Clemer, who painted for many years in Aix-en-Provence before being commissioned to work for Ludovico II, the Marquis of Saluzzo. The frescoes in Elva depict colorful scenes from the life of Mary and the Crucifixion and the cycle is considered Clemer’s masterpiece.
Clemer’s work can be found throughout the Maira Valley and former territory of the Marquisate of Saluzzo. Among the artist’s most celebrated works in the town of Saluzzo are the frescoes on the façade of the Duomo, La Chiesa di Maria Vergine Assunta and an altarpiece, La Madonna della Misericordia, which is on display in the Casa Cavassa museum in Saluzzo.