Although legend has it that its foundation dates back to Charlemagne, the first document mentioning the Ecclesia di Santa Maria di Vezzolano dates back to 1095: a joint investiture reserved for Theodulus and Aegidius, who were required to abide by certain precepts and live according to the canonical rule of St Augustine, later confirmed by papal bulls in 1176 and 1182. Situated between the dioceses of Vercelli, Asti, Turin and Ivrea and close to the notable towns of Asti and Chieri, the Vezzolano Rectory witnessed a period of greatness between the 12th and 13th centuries, followed by a slow decline that can be symbolically represented by two dates 1405, when it was granted in commendation to abbots from other places, and 1800, when the Napoleonic administration expropriated its property, turning the church into a country chapel for the parish of Albugnano and the frescoed cloister into a granary. In 1937, the complex was ceded to the State and entrusted to the Soprintendenza per i Beni Architettonici. The church, oriented with the apsidal part facing east, has a basilica plan, consisting of three naves, which was modified in the 13th century when the right nave became part of the cloister. The salient façade, in terracotta with horizontal sandstone bands and a rich sculptural decoration of transalpine connotation concentrated in the central part, is in early Gothic form. The interior is characterised by a pier (or jubè) on columns on which a polychrome bas-relief in two superimposed registers depicting the Patriarchs and Stories of the Virgin, dating back to the third decade of the 13th century although bearing the date 1189, is laid out, on either side of the central window of the apse are polychrome sculptures of antelamic derivation (late 12th century) depicting the Annunciation. In the cloister, one of the best preserved in Piedmont, you can admire sculpted capitals and a 14th-century fresco cycle, including the remarkable Contrasto dei tre vivi e dei tre morti (Contrast of the Three Living and the Three Dead).