Church of Saint Mary, Scaria
Located in the centre of the village, the Church of Saint Mary, which dates back to the Middle Ages, shows the great artistic flowering achieved in the Intelvi Valley in the Baroque and Rococo periods.
Between 1712 and 1752, the work of the Carloni brothers contributed to shape the present aspect of the church. The harmonious blend of its architecture, of the stuccoes by Diego Francesco and of the paintings by Carlo Innocenzo make the interior of the church a great example of the so-called Gesamtkunstwerk, an expression indicating the Baroque ideals of essential quality and ornamental cohesion.
In this rich and evocative atmosphere, you can find a canopied altar in polychrome marbles by Antonio Silva from Lanzo, with a “scagliola” paliotto (altar frontal) by Giovanni Battista Molciani.
In the first chapel on the right, known as ‘of the Genovesi”, you can admire a 17th century Virgin with Child and Saints of Ligurian school, and the venerated image of Mariahilf, modelled on a painting by Lukas Kranach.
Two paintings by Carlo Innocenzo Carloni, the Crucifix with Saint Roch and Saint Sebastian and the Virgin with Child and Saint Monica, can be admired in the Crucifix Chapel and in Chapel of Saint Monica, respectively.
At the entrance, the two holy water basins, one of which was produced and signed by Giovanni Gaspare De Angelis in 1607, are worthy of attention.
Church of Saint Nazarius and Saint Celsus, Scaria
This parish church of Scaria stands in an isolated area to the north of the village, next to the cemetery, where the cross tombstones of Diego Francesco and Carlo Innocenzo Carloni are preserved.
The 11th century bell tower is the only remnant of the Romanesque church, as the other parts of the building underwent several changes in the 16th and 17th centuries, when the presbytery, the groin vaults, the portico and the adjacent ossuary were built.
The portico is embellished with complex decorations including the 17th century Stories of Saint Martha and the Coronation of the Virgin and of Saints at the presence of Martino Carloni’s family, dating back to 1646.
The pictorial decoration of the interior is remarkable, in particular the painting cycle in the main chapel, created by the painter Giovanni Andrea De Magistris from Como in 1516. In the intrados and soffit you can admire Saint Sebastian and Saint Roch and Prophets, whereas Cardinal Virtues, St. Gotthard, The Apostles, Saint Abundius and Saint Stephen, Virgin with Child and Saint Nazarius and Saint Celsus are painted on the walls. In the lunettes, you can see the Adoration of the Magi, the Crucifixion of Jesus, the Flight to Egypt, the Annunciation to the Shepherds and the Adoration of the Child; the vault is painted with God the Father, the Evangelists and the Church Fathers.
Giovanni Battista and Cipriano Tarilli from Ticino painted the nave on commission by Giovanni Antonio and Giovanni Domenico Carloni in 1588. Their paintings on the walls and vaults represent devotional themes and are typical examples of the figurative artistic rules of the Counter-Reformation in the Intelvi Valley at the end of the 16th century.
The Last Supper in the second aisle, modelled after the famous painting by Leonardo in the convent refectory of St Mary of Graces, Milan, is worthy of attention.
Church of Saint Syrus, Lanzo
Rebuilt in 1476 on the ruins of an ancient place of worship, the church underwent several restorations in the following centuries, and heavy reconstruction between 1835 and 1837. The structure of the ancient building can still be seen in the foundations of the bell tower and in an interesting cycle of frescoes in the presbytery. Remarkable paintings of this decorative cycle are the Doctors of the Church, the Holy Redeemer, the Evangelists, Saint Lawrence and Saint Stephen, in particular the lunettes painted with the Adoration of the Magi and the Last Supper, whose style is modelled after Leonardo, and on the works of Bernardino Luini and Gaudenzio Ferrari.
Other works of the 16th century are the tabernacle in the presbytery, with figures of the Pietà, the Holy Redeemer and Saint Syrus and Saint Abundius, and the holy water basin at the entrance, created by Giacomo Novi in 1588.
The pulpit, the baptismal font, the marble altar by Carlo Antonio Carloni and the “scagliola” paliotto (altar frontal) in the second chapel on the right, show the decorative works carried out in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Shrine of the Holy Vergin of Loreto, Lanzo
The shrine stands on the ancient road to Mara Valley, at short distance from the village of Lanzo. Built thanks to a bequest by Pietro Spazzi, it was inaugurated on 30th June 1678 and later enlarged in 1874.
Thanks to the bequest, an ancient Marian chapel, a place of worship of the population of Lanzo, was turned into a proper church. In front of the building, whose late 17th century façade is adorned with the statue of the Holy Virgin of Loreto, there is a wide square enclosed by a balustrade.
The church can be entered through an atrium (also called ambulatory), whose vaults are decorated with frescoes (the Assumption and Prophets), painted around the middle of the 18th century by a follower of Carlo Innocenzo Carloni.
The altar, with an elegant “scagliola” paliotto (altar frontal) attributed to the Solari, preserves the venerated statue of the Black Virgin, celebrated the last weekend of January of every year.
Church of St. Pancras, Ramponio
The church is situated along an old route that led to Osteno. Only the bell tower and the apse remain of the original Romanesque structure; the latter was transformed into a side chapel when the building was enlarged. Inside there are frescoes in the 16th century aisle and a marble statue, the Lady with Child, by Tommaso Orsolino.