The Romanesque Basilica of San Vittore, dedicated to the patron saint of the town who was martyred under the Emperor Maximinus, cannot be dated with precision, but was built before the Diocese came under the jurisdiction of the Archbishopric of Milan in the eighth century.
The Basilica has undergone several restorations and extensions over the years. The first was in 1520, when the presbytery was built; in the second, in 1580, the main body of the ancient church was demolished and rebuilt to a design by Pellegrino Pellegrini, creating a three-nave plan. The last alteration was the construction between 1788 and 1791 of the present neoclassical façade, by Leopoldo Pollack.
Artefacts in the church include a large Crucifix, made in 1712 by Castelli, on the triumphal arch. In 1675 Giovanni Ghisolfi frescoed the vault with the Glory of St Victor, and in 1692 Salvatore Bianchi painted three large frescoes in the choir, depicting scenes from the martyrdom of St Victor.
There are several chapels in the church, among them the Chapel of St Catherine of Alexandria with a painting of the Martyrdom of the Saint by Giovanni Battista Ronchelli (1770), and the Chapel of the Rosary where in 1599 il Morazzone frescoed the vault and the conch with the Coronation of the Virgin and Angels playing musical instruments. Later on, in 1617, he frescoed the walls with a Presentation in the Temple and the Marriage of the Virgin.
Worth a visit is Bernascone’s Bell tower, so called because the local artist Giuseppe Bernascone is said to have made the final design of the tower. The first stone was actually laid as far back as 1017, but building work did not get under way until 1631.
Open from Monday to Saturday, all day.