Basilica of the SS. Annunciata (Most Holy Annunciation)

Location: the Basilica is separated from viale Varese by a large forecourt enclosed by chains but easily accessible by pedestrians. The façade, facing eastwards, takes up the centre of the forecourt; two large porticos on either side of the façade lead to the side entrances.
Paving: asphalt.
Barriere architettoniche:
Access: the access to the Basilica is by two side doors, north and south, each protected by a portico to welcome pilgrims. The front door is usually closed; it is opened only on solemn occasions, such as the Holy Week procession.
Services: almost in front of the Basilica there’s a newsagent; approx. 200 m northwards, on a parallel street, the local offices of the Lombardy Regional Council.
Leisure and Food: along viale Varese, north of the Basilica, there are bars, cafes and some restaurants.
Orario di apertura: 6.30 – 11.45, 15.30 – 18.45

(Alberto Rovi)

The Shrine of Christ Crucified is flanked by two porticos startitng to the back of the main doors which were completed by arch. Luigi Fontana in 1863. By adding these wings Fontana modified noticeably the overall look of Luigi Canonica’s (1824) two tier late neoclassical front, a souvenir of the lost front by arch. Carlo Francesco Silva (1716-1731), with bronzes by Siccardi (19th Cent.), dominated by Giuseppe Bayer’s group of the Annunciation to which the church was first dedicated. The Confraternity who took care of the miraculous wooden Crucifix was in fact dedicated to Our Lady of the Annunciation. The church, erected in the 14th Century, was originally dedicated to St. Peter Celestine (portrayed in glory in a wooden sculpture of the 17th Century in counter façade) and was connected to a Celestine monastery. It was originally managed by the Confraternity, which remained there also after the monks abandoned it and it became a parish (1654). The church, as was the custom, was orientated in the opposite direction to the present one, until 1627, when its plan was modified and the two side chapels, one dedicated to the Crucifix, the other to the Virgin Mary, were added to it. The great baroque ossuary, memento of the plague, which preceded the left entrance, at the end of the Gallery of the Miracles, has now lost its grandeur. This gallery is called of the Miracles because it is full of painted ex-voto, disgracefully cut down to fit them into one long frame. The space inside the church is decorated with baroque and neobaroque frescoes and stuccos (including frescoes by Gersam Turri and Mario Albertella, 19th and 20th Century), a harmonious result of the extensions which took place between the 17th and the 19th Century. The addition of the apsidal transept by Antonio Nolfi and Giulio Galliori (1761) was followed by the raising of the nave (Luigi Tatti, 1845-53). The first chapel on the left (paintings by G. Turri) is dedicated to Saint Girolamo Miani, founder of the Order of the Somaschi, rectors of the Sanctuary. The baptismal font, with a walnut lid by the Monza Artigianelli is opposite, together with a fresco by Onorato Andina (1870).
The second chapel on the left was looked after by the Fathers and originally it hosted the Crucifix. The altar ancona in polychrome marbles is by Carlo Buzzi (1638-1649), architect of the Duomo in Milan, the stuccos of the dome with Angels and Symbols of the Passion are by Francesco Sala (1638), the lower stuccos are by Francesco Rusca (1648), and the paintings, restored in the 19th Century, are by G. Paolo Recchi (1649). Frescoes and paintings by Carlo Innocenzo Carloni, aided by Carlo Giuseppe de Vincenti and Domenico Dobler (1725), may be admired in the chapel of the Virgin Mary; the marble statue of the Immaculate derives from a Saint Margaret by G. B. Bianchi from Argegno (1666).
Four monumental statues in glossy stucco of Kings and Prophets, by Stefano Salterio from Laglio (1785 ca.), stand in the middle of the transept. The painting of the Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence by Nuvolone (17th Century), now in the chapel symmetrical to the sacresty, used to be on the left altar, before being substituted by a statue of Saint Joseph. A painting of the Martyrdom of Saint Peter, copy of the one painted by Titian, comes from the church of St. Giovanni Pedemonte. The belltower is by Francesco Brachetto (1694).

Basilica of the SS. Annunciata viale Varese 23; tel. 031.265180

Crucifix of the Miracle

Collocation: the Crucifix of the Miracle is located on the main altar of the Basilica of the Most Holy Annunciation, beside two angels holding broken chains. It is accessible and approachable only during the Holy Week. When it is exposed to be kissed by the people, during the Holy Week, it is placed on a stand in the presbytery, imitating a Calvary, and can be reached by two specially made ramps.

(Lorenzo Marazzi)

The miraculous Crucifix, originally kept inside the second side chapel on the left and at present detached from its original cross, dominates the church from the templet on the main altar of the Basilica of the Most Holy Annunciation and every year, during the Holy Week functions, it is carried in procession and exposed to be kissed by the people. The original cross is now kept inside a golden reliquary in the northern chapel of the presbytery and exposed in the old chapel during Holy Week.
The history of the Crucifix is connected to the jubilee pilgrimages, in particular to the Jubilee of the year 1400. Tradition has that it was a gift from a group of French Romean pilgrims who arrived in Como in the year 1401.
This group, who travelled from the Cathedral of St. Denis, near Paris, brought with them two crucifixes and an image of the Virgin Mary, as was the custom for penitent pilgrims. On their way back from Rome, where they had gained their indulgences for the jubilee, they donated them. The first crucifix was left in Florence, the image of the Virgin Mary in Bologna, and the second crucifix in Como, where the pilgrims had found hospitality in the Oratory of Our Lady of the Annunciation, run by the Celestinian Fathers.
The Crucifix was entrusted to the Confraternity known as “Consorzio dei Disciplini” or “Scuola della Beata Vergine Maria Annunciata”, which, during the Holy Week, started the tradition of the “visit to the Seven Sepulchres”, taking the precious Crucifix in procession. The night of Holy Thursday in the year 1529, when Como was under Spanish rule, the Brothers of the Disciplini found the bridge on the river Cosia blocked by two big chains, one on top of the other. Following a refusal to remove them, the Disciplini tried to cross the bridge by tilting the Crucifix. It turned out to be unnecessary as the big ring fixed to the wall in order to sustain the chain fell down. All that were there said this was a miracle.

Basilica of the SS. Annunciata viale Varese 23; tel. 031.265180

Antico Ospedale S. Anna (former St. Anne’s Hospital)

Location: lthe former St. Anne’s Hospital, now Conservatory “Giuseppe Verdi”, is located at the beginning of via Cadorna.
To reach it, starting from the façade of the Basilica of the Most Holy Annunciation, take to the right, proceeding within the forecourt, and, after 25 m, cross the heightened zebra crossing with flashing traffic lights of the street lateral to the Basilica; then cross viale Varese at the pedestrian crossing traffic lights and join the pedestrian path that runs along viale Varese beside the ancient walls. Pass the newsagent crossing the cobbled street on the left (mind the cars). Keep walking for about 200 m along the pedestrian path and then turn left in viale Cattaneo. Continue for approx. 30 m and cross via Cattaneo at the (request push-button) traffic lights on the right and take via Cadorna, where, on the right, after 50 m, you will find the former Hospital.
Paving: aasphalt, cobbles, porphyry cubes
Architectural barriers: Ithe first crossing is made easier by the heightened surface; on the other hand, crossing viale Varese is quite difficult; along viale Cattaneo, which runs beside the southern end of the ancient walls, a large sidewalk offers a quiet pedestrian zone where the street market takes place three times a week (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays). The surface of this sidewalk is made of porphyry cubes. The sidewalk on via Cadorna does not create major problems (approx. 1.5 m wide).
Access: sthe Conservatory is accessed by a front door without barriers, looking directly onto via Cadorna.

(Lorenzo Marazzi)

The building of St. Anne’s Hospital, in the 15th Century, is part of the foundation of the so-called “Main Hospitals” (Ospedali maggiori), public assistance institutions to which, from that century onwards, all revenues of existing hospitals were redirected and which had the task of reorganizing and regulating public health and assistance. In Como, as a result of the preaching of the Franciscan father Michele Carcano, backed by bishop Branda Castiglioni, these tasks were assigned to the new Hospital of St. Anne’s, which received the revenues of the many small hospitals scattered around the town and its surroundings. This operation was authorized in 1468 by a bull from pope Paul II, which was later ratified by a bull from pope Sistus IV in the year 1483.
St. Anne’s Hospital, located outside the city walls near Torre di Porta Nuova, had originally a T type plan, a simpler version of Ospedale Maggiore (“Ca’ Granda”) in Milan, designed by Filarete and presently home of the University of Milan.
The new hospital in Como had four quadrangles and a cloister with superimposed orders of identical arches. It was immediately furnished with works of art, in particular with polychrome windows, which unfortunately have been entirely lost. In 1609 a wooden celing and frescoes by the Carpanos were added to the church and, after various additions and changes which took place in the 17th and 18th Centuries, a fourth wing was added to the building in the 19th Century. At this point in time the Hospital started to expand giving shelter to abandoned children, for whom the “ruota degli esposti” already existed.
During the first part of the 19th Century a few plans for refurbishment and functional improvement were made, but it soon became clear that the best solution was to move the entire complex. In 1932 the Hospital was moved to Camerlata, right on the main road connecting Como and Milan, in the new premises built on the land donated by Teresa Rimoldi, where it still stands today.
The old hospital buildings deteriorated quickly, leading to the demolition of most of the units. They were replaced by new roads and buildings for public use. The remaining units were assigned to the Fire Brigade, which used them as their headquarters. When they left, in 1961, the building underwent restoration work paid by Como City Council and it then became a school for music.
The music courses started in 1982, when the former Hospital of St. Anne’s, or rather, what still remained of it, became part of Milan’s Conservatory “Giuseppe Verdi”.
At present, only the small cloister, the church, the remains of the front and parts of the vault and of doors and windows, now walled up, are still visible.

Conservatory of Como via Luigi Cadorna 4, Como; Tel. 031.279827

Click here to see Foto d’archivio dell’antico Ospedale

Clicca qui per Conservatory “Giuseppe Verdi”: official website

Church of S. Bartolomeo (St. Bartholomew)

Collocation: the Parish Church of St. Bartholomew opens out on the intersection between via Milano and via Cadorna, on the old path that from the south led to the main city gate. On our route one arrives to the church from via Cadorna: while keeping on the sidewalk on the right-hand side, walk along via Cadorna until you reach via Milano, after approx. 400 m. Cross via Milano at the traffic lights at the end of the road, reach the other side then turn left; the church is approx. 25 m away, and, on the right, you’ll find the Ring of the Miracle.
Pavind: asphalt
Architectural barriers: via Cadorna is slightly uphill. Shops and houses may partially obstruct the sidewalk with placards or, at the time of collection, with garbage bags. Chains prevent the crossing of via Milano other than at the traffic lights.
Access: access to the Church is by the main portal, after climbing three steps. The Ring of the Miracle is within easy reach, and touching it is not prohibited.
Services: bus stops: in via Milano, 100 m on the right facing the front of church, after crossing viale Giulio Cesare (at the traffic lights); in via Milano 200 m on the left facing the front of the church, after crossing via Rezia and via XX Settembre (at the traffic lights). There is a post office on the left of the square (between via Cadorna and via Milano).
Parking for the disabled: 15 m after the intersection with via Croce Rossa, in via Croce Rossa and at number 53 of via Cadorna.
Leisure and Food: snack bars and restaurants along via Cadorna and via Milano.

(Alberto Rovi)

The parish church of St. Bartholomew, the third largest in Como after the Cathedral and the Basilica of the Most Holy Annunciation, is located at the crossing between via Milano and via Cadorna. Its two order neoclassical front is made of carved cement (ing. Giulio Valli, 1928), and closes the nave built by Antonio Nolfi (1779-86), and painted by Antonio Rinaldi from Tremona with the Ascension. The front fits well with the eclectic architectural solution of transept, apse and lantern which were added to the church in 1899 by E. Linati, G. Salvioni, E. Rossetti, and Father Locatelli, at the time when G. B. Scalabrini, the apostle of the emigrants, later bishop of Piacenza, was prior. The original church dedicated to Saint Bartholomew was located further north; from the 12th Century it served the hospital of the Crociferi (monks of the Holy Cross), and was absorbed by the Hospital of St. Anne’s in 1481. The altar piece in this older church was the Martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew by Iacopo Palma il Giovane (16th – 17th Century), now on the first altar on the right of the new church. Right opposite you will find the altar piece with the Martyrdom of St. Sebastian, accredited to Domenico Carpinoni (17th Century), a reminder of the old church of St. Sebastian, which stood slightly to the south of St. Bartholomew, near the bridge on the river Cosia. A “small cloister” made of pillars coming from the convent of St. Clare was built on that ground. From what once was the church of the convent, on the opposite corner of the quadrivial crossroads between via Milano and via Roosevelt, comes also the majestic baroque granite portal enclosing the small cloister and looking onto via Milano near the corner of St. Bartholomew, where the ring of the chain of 1529’s miracle of the Crucifix is still hanging. Inside the church there’s a painting of Saints Rocco, Catherine and Agnes contemplating Our Lady of the Assumption, by Giulio Cesare Procaccini, which was also originally in St. Clare, facing another painting, the Nativity by Antonio Maria Crespi Castoldi known as Bustino. Near the Southern side entrance, in addition to a small fresco of Mary with Child, you will find the altar piece with Mary and Saints Adalbertus, Gervasius and Protasius, accredited to the Carpanos (16th and 17th Century), and surrounded by the Scenes from the life of Saint Adalbertus, the 15th bishop of Como, which comes from the church of St. Protasius (via Anzani), now demolished.
As said, there is some uncertainty regarding the author of the altar piece. It is also unclear who made the beautiful carved tabernacle on the main altar, that was painted by the school of the Rodari’s and which resembles the Frog’s Door of the Cathedral: the difference here is that the frog is not damaged.

Parish of S. Bartolomeo via Milano 161, Como; Tel. 031.272618

Click here for the website of Website of the Parish of S. Bartolomeo and S. Rocco

Church of S. Francesco (St. Francis)

This point of interest is not located along the walking route of the path, but you have to make a short detour

Location: the Church of St. Francis looks onto Largo Spallino, between via Mentana and the Courts of Como, perpendicular to via Milano on the right, approx. 400 m from St. Bartholomew. After leaving St. Bartholomew, keep to the right; after 20 m cross via Rezia and proceed on the sidewalk along via Milano, going downhill for about 300 m. Along the way, after 100 m pass the intersection on the right with via XX Settembre and, after another 130 m, again on the right, with via Giulini. At the end of via Milano you pass under an old portico between the scented stalls of a flower shop. At the end of the portico, continue and cross the street. The sidewalk turns right and, after approx. 100 m, reaches Largo Spallino, where, far back on the right, stands the Church.
Paving: porphyry cubes, stone, asphalt.
Architectural barriers: the sidewalk on via Milano is 3 m wide but often shrinks to 1 m to make space for bus stops or parking areas. The numerous shops and bars sometimes partially obstruct the sidewalk. The section after via Milano is narrow and often obstructed by bicycles and motorcycles.
Access: access to the Church, which is preceded by a large portico, is by three doors; usually only the first one on the left is open. The Church, which is now an exhibition centre, may be visited only during the exhibition opening times.
Services: bus stops in via Milano: after the intersection with via XX Settembre and at the portico, almost at the end of the road. There are many paid parking spaces: the nearest are in via XX Settembre and behind St. Francis (via Auguadri Car Park).
Leisure and food: at the beginning of the route, on the right, immediately after the intersection with via Rezia, there’s a newsagent. Along the route there are bars, snack bars and various shops.

(Alberto Rovi)

This Church, which is preceded by a portico with Tuscan style pillars (16th Century), can now be seen as restored by architect Enzo Rho (early Seventies). It was deconsecrated under Napoleon’s rule (1810) and transformed into a barn and stable, thus making the Monastery of the Franciscans become army barracks – the Priory was destroyed in 1966 to make room for the Civil Court building.
It is oriented southwards, probably already from the time that older buildings (traces of which can be seen on the front) were transformed into a Gothic church. The only nave had a rectangular based apse which can be seen under the restoration floor, which also enables to detect the later addition of the side chapels (14th and 15th Centuries).
The succession of the chapels can be seen on the side of the church which looks onto via Mentana, where the monks’ vineyard originally began. Now that the works of art that were inside have all disappeared, only parts of frescoes remain visible: the best kept ones are the ones inside the two chapels near the entrance, owned by the “Compagnia dell’Immacolata Concezione” (which also owned a standard painted by Morazzone), the scenes from the Resurrection and the Descent into the Limbo.
The impressive Gothic tomb (14th Century) of the Rusca family, the most powerful in Como, is kept in the Castello Sforzesco in Milan.
Traces of firebrick Gothic arches (of the monastery?) can be seen from the room behind the renewed polygonal base apse (circa 1730) where parts of 18th Century frescoes (a Last Supper and scenes from the lives of Franciscan monks), restored by Torildo Conconi (early Seventies), are still visible. They are accredited to Carlo Innocenzo Carloni (18th Century), as is the Assumption of the Virgin Mary that you can see in the space over the choir. The sacristy and the belltower, of which only a stump is left, faced what is now the Civil Court building. In the past, another church, S. Biagio, and a cemetery, St. Michele, stood on the grounds in front of the church. The historian Giovio puts the arrival in Como of the Franciscans in the year 1230. Documents prove that the monastery was certainly in existence in 1252, and in 1260 St. Bonaventure, in the General Chapter of Narbonne, promoted Como to the rank of Custody in the Franciscan province of Milan. In 1279 Pope Nicholas III confirmed the donations of land and buildings made by women of the Gerbetto quarter.

Click here for Info Autosilo di via Auguadri

Church of St. Cecilia

Location: the Church of St. Cecilia is located in via Cesare Cantù, inside the old city walls, approx. 200 m (0.2 km) from St. Francis and less than 50 metres from the medieval Porta Torre (Tower Gate). The path leads to St. Cecilia by walking back from St. Francis (approx. 100 m on the left after leaving the Church) until one reaches (on the right) the entrance of a pedestrian subway which allows to cross in safety the extremely busy viale Cattaneo. Porta Torre stands on the left when coming out of the subway. Past the tower enter via Cesare Cantù. Approx. after 50 m, under an old porticato, you will find the Church of St. Cecilia.
Paving: asphalt, urban pavement.
Architectural barriers: lthe main barrier is the pedestrian subway in viale Cattaneo. There are two flights of stairs descending (13 and 8 steps, respectively), and two ascending (5 and 16 steps). It is possible to pass on either side of Porta Torre, or even under it, minding the flower boxes that are there to stop motor vehicles from entering the pedestrian zone.
Access: access to St. Cecilia is by a large portal. The Church looks onto a portico, and a few steps separate the portico from street level.
Services: a20 m from the church, at the end of via Cantù (northwards) there’s a Chemist.
Leisure and food: shops and various restaurants and snack bars.

(Alberto Rovi)

Almost hidden by the portico of the Classical Lyceum “A. Volta”, the outside of St. Cecilia is in the middle of the neoclassical front of the school building, and is the result of the intelligent work of architect Simone Cantoni, who in 1803 started the conversion of the Augustian nuns’ convent, leaving the church in the middle of it so that it could be used as chapel for the school. The church lost the back hall, the so-called “inner church”, which made it the first “double church” of the town, as provided for in the then new regulations for convents which followed the Council of Trent, to make more space in the former cloister. Evidence of the original plan is given by the gratings on the wall behind the altar and the bare upper tripartition of the filled in window. The same tripartition could be found in the thermal window of the 16th Century front, painted by Giambattista Recchi in the midst of the following century, which was cut in order to build a choir over the portico and repositioned further forward. The 13th Century church stood further South and was substituted by the present one, built by Bernardo Folla from Osteno (works started in 1573) as background in perspective in axis with the Contrada dei Ratti (now via Parini) where the processions came from. It was covered by a barrel vault and originally the light came in also from the apertures later covered by paintings. The rich baroque decoration is the result of at least two sets of interventions by the internationally famous stucco worker Giambattista Barberini from Laino Intelvi (1666 e 1688), who animated the rather simple structure of the only nave, slightly moved by the three side archworks. In 1607 the only important work of art inside the church was one of the masterpieces of 17th Century Italian painting, the altar piece with Saints Cecilia, Valerian and Tiburtius, by one of the great followers of Caravaggio, Orazio Gentileschi, which painted it in Rome. In 1801 the altar piece was moved to Brera Academy in Milan due to its great quality and was replaced by a minor painting of Our Lady of Sorrows, which had been the altar piece of the church of the Seven Sorrows, now demolished, which stood in the bulwark outside Porta Torre. The other 17th Century paintings by Filippo Abbiati are, on the contrary, of great artistic value.
The fresco on the vault with the Triumphs of Santa Cecilia and of the Cross are by Andrea Lanzani (1697).
The church was in fact dedicated to the Holy Cross, due to a relic of its miraculous wood that used to be kept there and was venerated by the pilgrims of a village called Viggiù who brought their children in Como to ask Santa Cecilia for favours.

A. Rovi, P. Vanoli, Santa Cecilia a Como. Chiesa, monastero, liceo, Nodololibri, Como 2008

Click here forThe Church of St. Cecilia in the Archive website of Iubilantes

Church of St. Donnino

This point of interest is not located along the walking route of the path, but you have to make a short detour

Location: the Church of St. Donnino stands on via Diaz, soon after the intersection with via Giovio, in front of the old palazzo Volpi, now the city’s Art Gallery. Coming from St. Cecilia, one finds St. Donnino after approx. 150 m, walking along via Cesare Cantù up to the intersection with via Giovio, and then turning left in via Giovio and right in via Diaz.
Paving: urban pavement
Architectural barriers: the only barrier is the large and steep staircase leading to the forecourt of the Church.
Access: access to the Church is by a long staircase. Entrance is through the single portal, after climbing one more step.
Other nearby attractions: Palazzo Volpi, now Pinacoteca Civica (City Art Gallery).
Leisure and food: The Pinacoteca Civica (City Art Gallery), snack bars and restaurants in via Diaz.
Other information: it’s in a limited traffic zone.

(Alberto Rovi)

Artificially raised over road level for reasons which are yet clear to archeologists, the church is dedicated to the martyr soldier sentenced to beheading, whose remains are venerated in Fidenza, a town called, up to 1927, Burgh of Saint Donnino, situated at the crossing between the Via Emilia and the road of pass Mount Bardone (Cisa), which in the Middle Ages was used by the Romean pilgrims. The cult of this Saint spread across Central and Northern Italy reaching Como, contributing indirectly to it becoming a stage in the pilgrims’ journey to Rome. The neoclassical features of the front (1813) are by arch. Carlo Polti, who collaborated with the famous Cantoni, and who defined the body of the narthex with Ionic semi-columns and rising tympanum. The lunette letting the light into the single nave has a stained-glass window with a Saint Donnino by Eugenio Rossi, who after the war completed similar works in the two oldest side chapels, next to the main altar, dedicated, respectively, to the Crucifix (frescoes are by Gian Domenico Caresana, 1619-20) and to the Virgin Mary (the frescoes of the vault and the painting of Our Lady of the Assumption on the side are by Fiammenghino, early 17th Century, while the Nativity of Mary is by Ludovico Pogliaghi, 1888). The polychrome wooden statue of the Saint (by Ezechiele Trombetta, late 19th Century) is inside a niche in the straight apsidal wall, extended by a trompe-l’oeil by Giuseppe Coduri Vignoli (early 19th Century) developed around the 18th Century Moses and Elias by Francesco Silva. It’s as if the polished stucco pilaster strips, with their warm tone, gave a solemn rhythm to the space of the nave, dominated by a luminous barrel vault with period stuccos by Angelo Menotti (1937), and enlarged by two further chapels, immediately after the narthex: the most recent one, dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua, has a recent wooden statue and frescoes by Chiesa (1836-37). The richest, on the left, patronaged by the Volpi family who lived in the palace right across the road, now the City Art Gallery, has frescoes on the vault by Antonio Crespi known as Bustino (1675) inside stuccos by G. B. Barberini (1662), an altar by Francesco Rusca from Campione (1630), refined marble encrustations on the walls (1647-58), and an altar piece with Saint Dominic and Saint Philip Neri venerating Baby Jesus given by the Virgin Mary to Saint Anthony of Padua.
Two important sculptures are, respectively, the small antique group of the Pietà, in the left passage, between the nave and the narthex, and the Crucifix inside the chapel of the same name, a gift from Saragoza, which tradition holds to be connected to the redeeming of a crucifix from the Turks, narrated by a painting inside the sacristy, where there is also a painting of Saint Francis venerating the Crucifix (Gian Domenico Caresana, 1610) as part of the wardrobe.

Click here from SIUSA (Sistema Informativo Unificato per le Soprintentenze Archivistiche) website – The history of the Parish of S. Donnino

Click here for Palazzo Volpi

Click here Palazzo Volpi /Pinacoteca: storia e info pratiche

Church of S. Eusebio (St. Eusebius)

This point of interest is not located along the walking route of the path, but you have to make a short detour

Location: the Church of St. Eusebius looks onto via Volta, just a short distance from the Holy Week Procession route. Coming from the Cathedral, cross Piazza Duomo northwards (towards the lake), then walk under the portico on the left-hand side of via Caio Plinio Secondo. If you wish to follow the route of the procession, once you reach the end of the portico enter Piazza Cavour after crossing on the right (zebra crossing) and, keeping on the right-hand side of the square, walk to the Lungo Lario Trento (traffic light crossing). Continue along the Lungo Lario for about 50 m and cross it again re-entering the square (west side) at the next set of traffic lights. At the southwest corner of Piazza Cavour, enter via Domenico Fontana, that will lead you to the Piazza Volta square, after approx. 100 m. Continue on the left of Piazza Volta and enter via Garibaldi. Then, after about 100 m, turn left into via Volta: after approx. 100 m you will find the Church of St. Eusebius. If, on the other hand, you wish to go directly to St. Eusebius, at the end of the portico keep left on the south side of Piazza Cavour, cross via Boldoni and enter via Domenico Fontana, continuing as indicated above.
Paving: urban pavement, asphalt
Architectural barriers: Bar tables, lamp posts, steps and flower-beds may prove to be an obstacle. In non-limited traffic zones pay attention to parked cars and motorcycles.
Access: aaccess to the Church of St. Eusebius is by a pronaos which follows a few steps. Entrance is by a single portal.
Services: bus stops and terminal in via Caio Plinio Secondo and Piazza Cavour. Regular boat services departing from Lungo Lario Trento (orari e servizi battelli di linea).
Paid parking in Piazza Roma, 100 m from Piazza Cavour. Taxi terminal in via Boldoni. Info and Tourist Service in Piazza Cavour
Leisure and food: iPiazza Cavour, Piazza Volta and via Boldoni host a variety of hotels, bars, restaurants, and high street shops. There is a newsagent’s at the end of the via Caio Plinio Secondo portico and in Piazza Volta.
Other informations: Piazza Cavour is a very large square (approx. 80 X 80 m). The south side is interested by heavy traffic, particularly buses. The square is the terminal of many bus lines. The north side is very busy, too, and traffic is even heavier. Limited by this “perimeter”, and protected by flower-beds, there is a large pedestrian area, sometimes used for cultural and music events, etc.. On the left-hand side of via Domenico Fontana there are porticos and shops.
Piazza Volta is trapezium-shaped, closed to traffic, as are the first 100 m of via Garibaldi. The pedestrian precinct finishes at the junction with via Volta.

(Alberto Rovi)

This building is a 17th Century reconstruction of the Romanic church, with pronaos by Tessin architect Biagio Magistretti (1830), who took inspiration from two earlier neoclassical works inside the city of Como: St. Cecilia’s portico by Cantoni and St. Donnino by Polti. The single barrel vault has polychrome panels with the Evangelists and Saints Peter and Paul by Mario Albertella (after 1930) in between neoclassical monochromes. From the baroque trompe-l’oeil painted inside the straight apse, a fake exedra perforated by a deambulatory, emerges the altar piece by Carlo Innocenzo Carloni (18th Century) with Saint Eusebius adoring the Virgin Mary of Good Counsel.
The second chapel on the right when you come in is dedicated to this particular veneration of the Virgin Mary, confirmed by silver ex-voto. Inside the chapel there is a painting donated to St. Eusebius’s parish priest by a canon of St. Marcus in Rome in 1748, a copy of an older painting, the bronze frame is by Pietro Taviani, who is also responsible for the Via Crucis; the frescoes on the vault (17th Century: Visitation, Assumption, Marriage of the Virgin Mary) resemble very much similar works by Isidoro Bianchi.
The Chapel of the Crucifix is opposite: there’s a wooden sculpture with horsehair hair which may be a remaining part of a wooden altar by Vittani (1620-24), formerly patronage of Gallio. All frescoes (1630) are encircled by stuccos: Jesus in the garden and The Flogging are on the walls; Moses and the bronze serpent, the Glory of the Cross and of the symbols of Passion, and Isaac’s sacrifice on the vault. The first chapel on the right, with frescoes on the plague by Eliseo Fumagalli (1934), his style blending Art Nouveau and new baroque, is dedicated to Saint Charles giving Communion to Saint Luigi Gonzaga (the altar piece is from the 18th Century). The chapel facing it, under a vault with 17th Century paintings, has an altar piece with the Passing of St. Joseph, and the paintings of the Pentecost and Saint Camillus de’ Lellis (by G. Pietro Romegialli?), coming from S. Giovanni in Atrio, all from the 18th Century.
The confessional carved with Ionic caryatids and festoons near the baptismal font covered by an elegant wooden sculpture (Christ, Angels, Saints Paul and Peter, 1939) is from the 17th Century.

Church of St. Maria of Loreto (Our Lady of Loreto) at the Gallio College

Location: the procession route continues along via Garibaldi until the intersection with viale Varese, entering the latter by turning right southwards. The Church of Our Lady of Loreto, attached to the eastern side of Collegio Gallio, opens onto the Piazza Cacciatori delle Alpi, right of where viale Varese intersects via Tolomeo Gallio. The Church in the past did not look onto via Garibaldi, which is fairly recent, but onto the old western gate, called Porta Sala, one of the four points giving access to the city of Como.
Paving: asphalt
Architectural barriers: on the right-hand side of via Garibaldi, before the intersection with via Volta (on the left), the sidewalk narrows to make place for a modern fountain; the pedestrian zone with limited traffic ends here. It is therefore advisable to cross via Garibaldi and continue on the sidewalk on the left-hand side.
Access: at the crossroads between via Garibaldi and viale Varese cross to the right-hand side of viale Varese; then cross Piazza Cacciatori delle Alpi, decorated by stone Roman artefacts: the Church opens onto the square by a single portal. As it is the Church of the Collegio Gallio, it is not usually open to the public.
Other nearby attractions: the Church is an integral part of the “Collegio Tolomeo Gallio” College, founded in 1583 by the cardinal Tolomeo Gallio with the assets of the suppressed Order of the Humiliati, who, in the same location, had previously erected and provided for the up-keeping of the convent and church of St. Maria di Rondineto.
Services: not far away (viale Varese) there are paid parking and disabled parking spaces. There is a chemist halfway through via Garibaldi.
Leisure and food: along the route you may find shops, bars and cafes. There’s a newsagent in Piazzale Cacciatori delle Alpi.

(Alberto Rovi)

The cement front by Italo Zanolini connected by scrolls to the enclosure wall (1899), encloses a single hall in late baroque style (1749-55). The basin was painted by Torildo Conconi in the Fifties and shows the Trasporto della Santa Casa a Loreto.
The lid of the sarcophagus which you find on the right coming into the Church, made after the finding by bishop Lazzaro Carafino (1635) of what were believed to be the remains of John Oldradus of Meda, the founder of the Order of the Humiliati, comes from a gothic sarcophagus of a father of the Humiliati, not the blessed Oldradus, pictured in the right handside altar piece, the Vision of blessed Oldradus, by G. A. Petrini. Facing it is Cesare Ligari’s altar piece of Saint Girolamo Miani in prison liberated by the Virgin Mary (1753).

Collegio Gallio via Tolomeo Gallio 1, Como; tel. 031.269302

Click here for the Collegio Gallio website

Church of St. Maria of Rondineto*
* building totally or partially in ruins

(Alberto Rovi)

Of this Church, considered to be the mother house of the Order of the Humiliati, remain visible only a beautiful Romanic-Gothic portal made of white, grey and red stone, partly reconstructed in the former Gallio students room, but the original plan, converted into classrooms, the stair in correspondence of the back-sacristy, the volume of the old belltower, and part of a big pointed arch made of Moltrasio stone, remain. The archaeological remains of the buildings, in addition to the stylophori lions (15th Century) in the garden portico and the gothic sarcophagus in St. Maria of Loreto are kept in a small Antiquarium. The Church was used until the flooding of the Cosia river in 1607.

Collegio Gallio via Tolomeo Gallio 1, Como; tel. 031.269302

Click here for the Collegio Gallio website

Church of St. Gerolamo dei Serviti*
* building totally or partially in ruins

Location: the Church and the annexed old Hospitale (Hospice) of St. Gerolamo, now destroyed, stood on the right-hand side of what is now viale Varese, between via Borsieri and the Basilica of SS. Annunciata, once a Monastery of the Celestines. The function as a Hospitale confirms the importance of the area as a pilgrim route.

(Lorenzo Marazzi)

The Church dedicated to St. Gerolamo stood outside the western city walls, between the monastery of the Celestines and St. Margaret’s convent. It was built in 1349 by bishop Boniface of Modena, together with a refuge for the poor and a hospice for pilgrims, in particular for those from the North, coming or going to the Holy Places in Palestine and in Rome. An inscription on the front of the Church told the pilgrims that they would find there a place to rest. Before he died, the bishop donated the Church and the hospital to the nuns of the Order of the Servants of the Virgin Mary. The assistance continued until decisions by Joseph II, emperor of Austria, caused the building to be closed. The Austrian army built here the oven and the general store for all the army barracks in town. It later became a company’s store for alloy and carbon. Finally, in the Sixties, what remained of the religious building was demolished and a block of flats was built in its place, at the crossing between viale Varese and via Borsieri.

Click here for The Servants