The baptismal church of San Giacomo in Averara is of ancient origin. In the 'Privileges' granted by Venice to Averara in 1443, there is also permission for the municipality to spend part of the census on the church.
The first building was consecrated in 1468 by Bishop Paolo Nicopolitano of Milan, since the Averara Valley was a diocese of Milan. The church was then made a parish by St Charles Borromeo, here on a pastoral visit, on 23rd October 1566. The church was in Romanesque style, all frescoed on the walls, along the façades and under the high portico where we can still admire signs of the ancient and artistic frescoes of the local fresco painters, including the famous Baschenis, and we can see signs of the grandeur of the ancient church, enlarged between 1713 and 1732. The portal in "lumachelle" marble from Mezzoldo, surmounted by an ancient fresco depicting St James, is very decorative. The parish church was reconsecrated on 2nd August 1901 by Bishop Gaetano Guindani.
Among the numerous works of art are the altarpiece of the Virgin Enthroned with Saints Apollonia, Anastasia, Catherine and Lucy, by Gian Battista Guarinoni in 1576, the altarpiece of the Assumption, above the door to the church, by Lucano Gagio d'Imola, an assistant to Lotto, from the early 16th century. The central altarpiece of St. James, by Anzolo Lion in 1621, the two canvases to the side, with St. Joseph and the Angel with Child, by Marziale Carpinoni. The early 17th century Venetian-style altarpiece depicting the angels with the dead Christ and Saints Francis and Charles Borromeo is of great historical interest because it depicts the ancient centre of Averara with its porticoed street and watchtower on Mount Faino.
The wooden furnishings are true masterpieces of local art. The choir stalls and the kneeler are inlaid works by Antonio Rovelli of Cusio and carved by Antonio Lozza of Bergamo, made in 1690-92, with subsequent intervention in 1722 by Gio. Paolo Caniana. The same authors made the wall hangings and furnishings bench in 1692, behind which, through openable compartments, we can admire the ancient frescoes of the presbytery. The pulpit is another wonderful work of carving and inlay by Antonio Rovelli from 1696, as is the large sideboard in the sacristy. The organ is a late 18th century Serassi, rebuilt by Prospero Foglia in 1844.