Cultural Italy Blog: Art, Coffee & Love

With a Head Thrown Back: Chiesa di Santa Maria del Monte, Varese


Visiting Italian holy places, expect sights beyond human scale. Expect magnificence and the divine. Expect something outstanding and almost heavenly imposing. Expect pure beauty and the ornate looking down at you from above. It is in Italy, if fact, that you will learn the real meaning of a masterpiece.

The most surprising thing about this country, however, is the fact that these masterpieces, you can find anywhere. It is not only about Rome, Florence and Venice. Surprisingly precious artworks and unrepeatable architectural heritage you can find in the smallest town. Like, for example, in borgo Santa Maria del Monte and its Church.

Interestingly, this Sanctuary, originally built back in the IX century (and extended through years), does not have any appealing façade. And yet, a very humble exterior hides an extraordinary interior. You will just have to walk with your head thrown back if you don’t want to miss the XVII century glorious frescoes by Giovanni Mauro della Rovere, Giovanni Paolo Ghianda, Salvatore Bianchi and the Lampugnani, covering vaults of the shrine and framed by spectacular Baroque stucco decorations. All protected today by UNESCO and truly one of Italy’s many treasures to be discovered.

Maria Novozhilova


twitter: @NovozhilovaM