Madonna di Campagna Church
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The Church of Madonna di Campagna (Our Lady of the Fields) on the outskirts of Pallanza was built in Renaissance style over an earlier Romanesque church (Sancta Maria de Egro), of which all that remains today is the 11th century bell tower and a few traces of walls.
The Church is immediately striking from the outside due to its high octagonal tiburium surrounded by a loggia and surmounted by a lantern, and to its broad gabled façade faced with shaped blocks of serizzo granite. The interior has three naves and is splendidly decorated with artworks mostly from the period immediately following the consecration of the church in 1547. The Chapel of the Madonna delle Grazie, embellished with the traditional symbols of the Virgin and by fine paintings by Camillo Procaccini, contains the 14th century fresco of the Madonna del Latte (Virgin Breastfeeding the Christ Child), a much-venerated image originally belonging to the earlier church and incorporated into the newer building.
The Chapels of St Lawrence and St Bernard depict scenes from the lives of the two saints, and contain frescoes attributed to Bernardino Lanino and his sons. Cesare Luini is credited with the frescoes on the dome depicting St Augustine, St Jerome, St Ambrose and St Gregory between pairs of musician angels; the frescoes on the apse celebrating the Virgin Mary are thought to be by Carlo Urbino and Aurelio Luini.
The wooden choir, made in 1582 by Andrea Merzagora of Craveggia in the Vigezzo Valley, is of great value. Other fine artworks are a lectern finely carved with the symbols of the four Evangelists (the angel of St Matthew, the bull of St Luke, the lion of St Mark, and the eagle of St John), a superb Baroque pulpit, and the baptismal font surmounted by the figure of Christ kneeling to receive baptism.
The monumental complex also includes, to the north of the church, an early 17th century building which used to be a seminary, and to the south, an 18th century ossuary with fine wrought iron grilles. Some of the concerts of the “Settimane Musicali di Stresa e del Lago Maggiore” are held here.