We do not know the exact date of construction of the church, however there are two stone inscriptions carved on the wall and on the portal - in 1474 and 1510. The latter probably relates to a later intervention and that of the 15th century (terminus ante quem), perhaps dates its current form.
In fact, according to a document drawn up in 1183, there was already a church called Santa Maria, although it was of more modest proportions. The growing needs of the community led it to build a new church within the urban area, at the site of the old and dilapidated church of St. Christopher, which was incorporated into the new structure. Adjacent to the church there was a cemetery accessible via a staircase from the northern entrance. It became a parish church, and was later enlarged and embellished thanks to bequests and donations, which considerably increased its heritage.
Over time, however, the structure fell into disrepair and in the 19th century it was ruined "ab imis", that is, down to the foundations. In the first decade of the 20th century it was restored, with the inevitable alterations. Further work was carried out more recently as a result of damage sustained during the Second World War.
ExteriorThe front of the building has an entrance in the Romanesque Revival style. In 1944 a small lobby was added outside the church, where there is a fresco from the 15th century depicting St. Christopher carrying baby Jesus on his shoulders. This interesting painting belonged to the 11th century church dedicated to the saint.
The ancient doorway, off-centre compared to the width of the facade, has a worked stone frame with half columns bearing Corinthian capitals which support the architrave. It is decorated in the middle with the emblem of San Bernardino of Siena: a sun with rays and the trigram IHS which is the symbol of Jesus. Inside the lunette fresco is a scene of the Deposition. On the northern side, with a wide covered staircase leading up to it, is another portal.
InteriorDespite the substantial renovation work during the last century, which involved among other things the replacement of the old brick floor, the original floor plan divided into three naves is still recognisable. The sides are covered by vaults and a central coffered ceiling. The stone colonnade with arcades and some architectural elements may be the original medieval, while the side chapels with their decorative elements are Baroque and house the statues of Our Lady of the Rosary, The Blessed Conception, Santa Maria Maggiore and Santa Maria della Neve .
An oil painting on canvas from the 18th century, depicting the Virgin and Child with San Biagio, was commissioned in order to be placed on the wall of the right-hand aisle by the guild of wool merchants and carders, who were important in the local community and were clearly linked to the consistent activities of pastoralism. At the Baroque altar are the remains of San Feliciano, the patron saint of Introdacqua.
The Bell Tower Adjacent to the church, the bell tower was built in 1600, as shown by the date stamped on the masonry. It has a square base and a spire reaching up to a height of 32.50 meters. It is particularly sturdy and has withstood the many earthquakes that swept the area in 1634, 1706 and finally in 1915.