Built on the mount of Velate between 1604 and 1698, the Sacro Monte of Varese is like the Sacro Monte of Varallo in the category of the Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy, architectural complexes that for their spiritual value and their artistic merit in 2003 were included by Unesco within the World Heritage List.
Promoted, like the other Sacri Monti, by the Church of the Counter-Reformation in order to strengthen the devotion of the faithful threatened by the Protestant Reformation, the Sacro Monte of Varese is composed of a sacred street about 2 km long marked by fourteen chapels that illustrate the mysteries of the Rosary.
The guided tour will start with the path of the Via Sacra that will allow you to admire the decorations of the individual chapels, in which sculptural groups in polychrome terracotta, opera among others by Francesco Silva, Dionigi Bussola, Marco Antonio Prestinari-these last ones active also at the Duomo of Milan – find their perfect setting in the frescoes, which from time to time represent a wide landscape or simulate an architectural interior, or in a narrative key insert other characters to the event depicted in the statuary groups.
Among the painters active for the chapels, the names of Pier Francesco Mazzucchelli known as Morazzone (VII Chapel, 1609), Antonio Busca (X cappella, 1668-71), Stefano Maria Legnani known as Il Legnanino (XIV chapel, circa 1710) stand out.
At the end of the Via Sacra that leads to the village of Santa Maria del Monte, the itinerary will continue with a visit to the sanctuary, now characterised by the presence of grandiose seventeenth-century frescoes within sumptuous baroque stuccoes that replaced the late fifteenth-century decorative apparatus dating to the transformation of a previous Romanesque building promoted by Galeazzo Maria Sforza.
The historical stratification of the church is well documented by the recently restored Romanesque crypt, where fragments of frescoes from different eras are confirmed.
Along the charming streets of the village, we will finally arrive at the House Museum Lodovico Pogliaghi, the dwelling that the Milanese artist – painter, sculptor, architect and scenographer – himself designed in order to create a museum laboratory in which to devote himself to his passions: artistic creation, study, collectism and contemplation of the landscape.
Crossed the courtyard dotted with antiquities you come inside the Villa, real mirror of the eclectic taste of the landlord that is reflected both in the vastness of the collections and the specificity of the décor of the individual rooms.
To be noted the Orientalesque Golden Gallery, which reproduces the sumptuous ceiling realized by Pogliaghi for the bathroom of a palace of the Shah of Persia, the Exedra, space that in forms inspired by the Pantheon of Rome, houses the rich archaeological collection of Pogliaghi and the room of the Atelier in which the imposing original plaster of the central door of the Duomo of Milan is set up.
A last look at the suggestive surrounding panorama will conclude this stimulating itinerary within the natural Park of Campo dei Fiori among art, nature and devotion.
- 180 minute guided tour conducted by a guide with regular professional licence.
- reduced admission ticket to the Sanctuary and reduced admission to the House Museum Lodovico Pogliaghi
What’s not included
- transport to reach the meeting point
- food and beverage unless otherwise specified
- tips (optional)
- personal extras
DepartureVia Conventino, Sacro Monte di Varese
15 minutes before the start of visits at the Porta del Rosario (first entrance arch to the chapels) Sacro Monte di Varese