This attractive rural church stands in open countryside within the area of underground springs between the rivers Muson Vecchio and Tergola, on the border between the towns of San Martino Lupari, Villa del Conte and Santa Giustina in Colle.
The area is known as Borghetto, and the origins of this fine church can be traced back to the ninth/tenth century. Restoration and restructuring work on the Oratory has added to our understanding of the different modifications that the church underwent at various periods in history, as well as bringing to light some fragments of fresco that were entirely concealed up to a few years ago. The nave of the oratory has the typical east-west alignment of Christian churches, with the main entrance in the west facade. The building is first mentioned in official documents on 29 April 1085, and there was an important extension westwards added in 1577, with a bell-tower being built in 1706. Inside is a small museum which houses two interesting Longobard bas-reliefs (A Lamb with Cross and A Man at Prayer), as well as Roman stone remains that were unearthed in this area.
Both the exterior and interior are fairly simple in appearance; the absence of plaster means one can see the bare brick-built walls (some of the bricks are Roman in origin) with intermittent bands of river cobbles. The church is dedicated to San Massimo di Cittanova d’Istria, whose feast day falls on 29 May.