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Fagnano Olona

Foto Fagnano Olona
Foto Fagnano Olona
Foto Fagnano Olona
Foto Fagnano Olona
Foto Fagnano Olona
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Places  of historical value  of artistic value around Milan (Italy): Fagnano OlonaFagnano Olona is located on the right side of the river Olona, 5km north of Busto Arsizio, 20km south of Varese and approx. 40km northwest of Milan.

The area of Fagnano Olona enjoyed great importance already in the late Roman era, by virtue of its position which allowed it to dominate the Olona valley, an important north-south communication axis. This is confirmed by the discovery, in 1922, of a votive altar dedicated to Jupiter and, in 1973, of a necropolis comprising 20 tombs and related items (now preserved in the Museum of the Studi Patri in Gallarate).
The first document in which the village of Fagnano Olona is mentioned dates back to 1045.
In medieval times Fagnano Olona was closely linked to the Seprio Committee, often at odds with Milan. At the time of Frederick Barbarossa it was therefore allied with him against Milan.
Fagnano Olona was then, in the late Middle Ages, at the center of the struggle between the Della Torre and Visconti families for dominance over Milan and the area around it. When the latter, after the battle of Desio in 1277, finally managed to prevail, Fagnano Olona was divided between two branches of the Visconti family: the branch linked to Giovanni Visconti was entitled to what is now called Visconti Castle, Castellazzo (of which unfortunately very little remains today) and the fraction of San Martino belonged instead to the branch of the Visconti of Jerogo.
The fief of Fagnano Olona was abolished in 1798.

Although Fagnano Olona is a small town, there are many tourist attractions in it.

  • Visconti Castle (Larger picture): It is certainly the most important monument of the town, also because it is intimately linked to its history. It is located in a strategic position on the edge of the town to dominate the Olona Valley and is now the seat of the Municipality.
    The castle has an asymmetrical structure and has two courtyards. The first one which is accessed is from the Baroque period, when the defensive function was no longer predominant. The rear courtyard, on the other hand, dates back to the Visconti era and in it there are still coats of arms and frescoes that refer to these ancient owners.
    Visconti Castle in detail.

  • Church of San Gaudenzio (Fig. 1): The Church of San Gaudenzio is the largest religious building in Fagnano Olona. It was built in the mid-eighteenth century. Externally it is characterized by the large pronaos added in 1824 in front of the facade which gives it an even exaggerated grandeur. The interiors include a single large nave with a barrel vault and are richly decorated with mostly neo-baroque stuccos and frescoes.
    Church of San Gaudenzio in detail.

  • Sanctuary of the Virgin of the Woods: Unfortunately, despite all efforts, it was not possible to visit it. I therefore report the description present on Wikipedia: The fifteenth-century Sanctuary of the Madonna della Selva is the oldest religious building in Fagnano Olona. Probably part of the original nucleus is the main chapel (14th - 15th century), to which the nave was added in the following centuries. Inside there are numerous valuable works, including a Pietà, a 17th century sculpture, an 18th century altar frontal and frescoes painted in 1613 by Domenico Pellegrino. The church owes its name to the wooden statue depicting the Madonna della Pietà, which, according to tradition, was found in a wood near the town. The work is divided into two parts: the lower, older one, dating back to the 14th - 15th century and the upper one dating from around the mid-18th century.

  • Oratory of Sant'Anna (Fig. 2): It is a small oratory (it is as large as a large room of a normal apartment) completely incorporated into a residential building, so much so that it is almost unrecognizable as such from the outside.
    It was built in the late Baroque period, in 1762.
    Inside, on the other hand, are present, in miniature, all the elements that make up a church: a nave with the benches equipped with a kneeler, the presbytery bordered by a polychrome marble balustrade and a wrought iron gate, the altar in a slightly raised position with a very simple marble retable with an altarpiece in the center depicting St. Anne with Mary child, and all the essential sacred furnishings.
    On the walls there are also paintings depicting Saint Catherine, Saint Anthony with the Child Jesus and The penitent Magdalene.

  • Oratory of the Immaculate Conception: It is part of the Castellazzo complex, the other castle of Fagnano Olona, of which unfortunately very little remains. Built in 1752 it was first the private oratory of the Visconti family, then of the Bossi family and finally open to the public. The wall behind the altar is occupied by a fresco depicting the Immaculate Virgin. Unfortunately it is not currently open to visitors.

  • Chapel of San Martino: The chapel is what remains of the complex of the village of San Martino, whose church was demolished after the revolt caused by the annexation of the parish of San Martino to that of San Gaudenzio in 1798. With the destruction of the church of San Martino the adjacent cemetery was abandoned. Only the Chapel of San Martino remained, which stood at its entrance. It was built in 1742, in a pure Baroque style. The external structure is simple, but at the same time refined. Rectangular in plan, it has a roof that protrudes on all four sides. The main façade is bordered by two pilasters which three-quarters high are interrupted by capitals. In the center there is a large mixtilinear window with a stone frame that follows its sinuous lines. The window, protected by a grate, evidently serves to be able to admire the frescoes inside without having to enter, as evidenced by the steps leading to it. Above the window, there is also a large fresco depicting the Virgin in the act of bringing souls from purgatory to paradise.
    Inside, the wall in front of which the altar is located is occupied by a fresco depicting Christ on the cross. The vault is occupied by a Glory of San Martino. On the side walls, in the upper part, there are, accompanied by symbols that recall the vanity of life, the two inscriptions, which complement each other: "What you will be, we are now" and "So whoever forgets us forgets himself" .
    The chapel has recently been restored by the Pro Loco.

  • Former Candiani Cotton Mill: It is the complex of buildings of various sizes completely in exposed brick located right next to the Olona river. For the first seventy years of the twentieth century the complex housed the Candiani textile factories, which used the Olona water for their production processes. The largest building is the one that housed the boilers, on the façade of which the name Candiani and the symbol of the family, the eagle surmounted by a star, are still present today.
    The area immediately south of the former cotton mill is now used as a park and includes lawns, picnic areas and ponds populated by flora and fauna typical of marshy environments.

  • Finally, it is worth noting the presence in Fagnano Olona of an interesting quarter made up of villas from the late eighteenth to early nineteenth century, a time when the town was transformed from an agricultural village into a small industrial town.

Categories: Places of historical value of artistic value

Fagnano Olona
Further pictures of Fagnano Olona in the section Photography
Fagnano Olona (Varese, Italy): Interior of the dome of the crossing of the Church of San Gaudenzio
Fagnano Olona (Varese, Italy): Ceiling of the crossing of the Church of San Gaudenzio
Fagnano Olona (Varese, Italy): Interior of the Church of San Gaudenzio
Fagnano Olona (Varese, Italy): Vault of the apse and of the crossing of the Church of San Gaudenzio
Fagnano Olona (Varese, Italy): Chapel of the Blessed Immaculate Virgin in the Church of San Gaudenzio