Church of Santa Croce
Dating back to the last decades of the sixteenth century (1580-1594, consecrated in 1599) and characterized by a low, imposing copper coated vaulted dome, the Church of Santa Croce dominates the historic village centre.
Built close to the family home at the behest of Canon Giovan Andrea Della Croce who also chose it as his final resting place, the building has a square ground plan with octagonal interior and dome.
Particularly precious are the three wooden portals adorned with decorative motifs. Inside, one can admire elaborate stuccoes and frescoes, not to mention the distinctive Doric columns made of imitation marble. At the centre of the floor, carefully laid using different coloured stone and marble arranged in geometric patterns, you can see the symbols of the Passion of Christ.
On the ceiling of the dome what appears to be a painting of Paradise by the Pozzi brothers of Valsolda can be seen. The three canvases and the frescoes, which decorate the ceiling of the main chapel and the two altarpieces of the side chapels, are attributed to the creative genius Camillo Procaccini (1561-1629), an established artist who worked in Lombardy. However, the other paintings and some of the frescoes are the work of artists with whom he shared a workshop. In the centre of the main chapel there is a canvas depicting St. Helen in adoration of the Cross, and at the sides we find the Dream of Constantine and the Discovery of the True Cross.
The side chapels are dedicated to the Assumption of Mary and to the figure of St. Bernardino, the latter having been chosen in an act of devotion and gratitude by the founder of the Church towards his illustrious uncle Bernardino Della Croce, a former close collaborator of Pope Paul III Farnese, Bishop of Casale Monferrato and Como.
The eight-pointed cross surmounted by three Farnese lilies–the elements of the coat of arms of this illustrious local family–emphasizes this close bond.
The balustrades and fonts are made of Arzo "marble," just like many of the existing artefacts in the region’s sacred buildings. The church’s construction is attributed to the architect Giovan Antonio Piotti, originally from Vacallo, who also worked on the cathedral at Como and built numerous noble residences in that area