Church of San Remigio

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How to get

By car: from the A26 motorway exit at Baveno or Gravellona for Verbania. At the second traffic light turn right for Pallanza, and follow the signs for Villa San Remigio.
By train: Verbania-Pallanza station. The bus from the station goes to Pallanza.


The little Church of San Remigio stands apart from the bustle of the world in the silence of the top of the Castagnola Hill above Pallanza, next to the splendid gardens of Villa San Remigio. It is a graceful Romanesque oratory dating from the 11th-12th centuries.

The church is built entirely of squared blocks of stone arranged in a regular fashion. The façade is partly hidden by a 16th century porch with a vaulted ceiling. Inside, the church is divided into two asymmetric naves, an unusual feature probably the result of the difficulty of building on the rock of the promontory, with a groin-vaulted ceiling and semi-capitals decorated with medieval frescoes.

The best-preserved frescoes are on the smaller apse, dated to the middle of the 11th century, and depict a blessing Christ above a kneeling figure, probably the client. In the larger apse there is an intriguing late 13th century Cycle of the Months, illustrated through the human activities typical of each season.

You can see an interesting 16th century fresco of the “Virgin of the Milk” – Mary breastfeeding the Christ Child – on a pillar.  This image was very common throughout the foothills of the Alps and recalls the cult of “Mother Earth”, but – as here – was often censored by painting over the breast.