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Foto Canzo
Foto Canzo
Foto Canzo
Foto Canzo
Foto Canzo
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Places  of historical value  of artistic value  of landscape value around Milan (Italy): CanzoCanzo is a town of approx. 5000 inhabitants located at the northern end of Lake Segrino and surrounded by the woods of the Cornizzolo, Corni, Barzeghino and Scioscia mountains. Canzo is also considered the last town in Brianza going north and is located right at the entrance to Valsassina.
From a geological point of view, the territory of Canzo is marked by the passage of glaciers, which have deposited various large erratic boulders around. Also the Segrino lake itself is of glacial origin.

It is believed that the territory of Canzo was already inhabited in the Bronze Age. The oldest human remains have been found on Mount Cornizzolo and have been dated 6000 BC.
From about 1500 BC the area saw the stable presence of Celtic settlements. Then followed the Roman rule.
In the early Middle Ages Canzo was part of the County of Martesana, a fief of the Monastery of Sant'Ambrogio in Milan. In 1162 Frederick Barbarossa passed Canzo under the control of the Monastery of San Pietro al Monte of Civate, which had supported him in the war against Milan.
In the Renaissance period Canzo then became part of the Visconti domain.
One of the most illustrious citizens of Canzo, the blessed Miro, who lived most of his life as a hermit in the mountains around the town, was born in 1336.
Throughout the seventeenth century Canzo was under Spanish domination.
During this century the wool industry grew and acquired a lot of importance. Between 1600 and 1850 Canzo constituted one of the main manufacturing centers of Lombardy.
Canzo administratively entered the orbit of Como, and no longer that of Milan as it had been until then, only in 1786, by decision of Joseph II of Austria. However, Canzo always remained very attached to Milan, even culturally, so much so that the Social Theatre, inaugurated in 1829, is due to the initiative of both Canzo families and Milanese families. In 1903 it was one of the first buildings in the town to be equipped with electric lighting.
There are many things to see in Canzo:

  • Basilica of Santo Stefano (Fig. 1): The exact name of the church is Basilica of Saint Stephen Protomartyr. Its origins are very ancient. The present church was built between 1728 and 1752. Externally the church is characterized by its exquisitely Baroque two-order facade, which alternates concave and convex surfaces. The interior is richly decorated.
    Basilica of Santo Stefano in detail.

  • Church of Saints Francesco and Miro (Fig. 2): It is a church of very ancient origins. It was originally dedicated to the Virgin Mary and was part of a monastery founded in the fourteenth century.
    The current building is however the result above all of the modifications and extensions made in the eighteenth century, which gave the church a typically late Baroque appearance.
    At the end of the eighteenth century, the convent of which the church was part was suppressed and was initially used by the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament. It was later transformed into a hospital, a retirement home and finally a warehouse during the last world war. It has only recently been restored, re-adapted to its original function and refurbished with elements not belonging to the original structure.
    The fa├žade, marked by pilasters, is simple, but not devoid of refinement. In particular, note the cornice that runs a little under the roof and that bends to get around the mixtilinear window in the upper central part. The entrance has a portal with a broken tympanum bearing the coat of arms of the Franciscan order.
    The interior is a single room. The vault of the nave was frescoed in the eighteenth century: the Dream of St. Francis decorates the first span, the Glory of Saints Miro and Francesco the second.
    There are four side chapels, dedicated to St. Francis, the Crucifix, the Immaculate Conception and St. Mirus.
    The presbytery and choir are very deep. The lower part of their walls is occupied by the stalls of the wooden choir.
    On the side walls there are two seventeenth-century paintings depicting the Transit of Saint Anthony of Padua (right) and the Miracle of the healed leg (left). On the back wall, a coeval altarpiece with the Crucifixion among saints.
    The altars of the side chapels and the main altar in polychrome marble are equipped with frontals in scagliola.

  • Hermitage of San Miro al Monte (Fig. 4): Built between 1643 and 1660, it is located near the Ravella stream, surrounded by steep slopes.
    Attached to the church there was originally a small convent which housed, depending on the period, one or two hermits, probably belonging to the convent located in the village next to the Church of San Francesco. The religious remained in the hermitage until the end of the eighteenth century, then they abandoned the place of worship. The complete restoration of the church was completed in 2005.
    The building is completely made of stone and in front of the facade it has a tripartite portico.
    The interior has a single nave divided into two spans by pilasters with cross vaults. In correspondence with the side walls and on the vault of the nave there are panels and decorations depicting scenes from the life of San Miro. The presbytery has an altar leaning against the back wall, with a retable decorated with stucco framing a canvas depicting a Virgin with Child and Saints Miro and Rocco. On the side walls there are two panels with frescoes depicting the life of S. Miro.
    The decorations inside the hermitage are mostly recent.

  • Chapel of the Archangel Michael: It is a small chapel with central plan that you come across as you go up towards the hermitage of San Miro al Monte. It is also called Lazzaret, due to the use that the place was certainly made on the occasion of the plague epidemic of 1836. It is indeed probable that the building is older and that it performed the same function during the Manzoni plague from 1630. It was restored first in 1928 and then again at the end of the last century.

  • Villa Meda (Fig. 5): Built on the right side of the Ravella stream at the beginning of the eighteenth century in the historic center of the town. It includes frescoed rooms and a circular oratory. Since it has not been visited by the writer, please refer to the page on the website of the Municipality of Canzo.

  • Villa Magni: Villa built at the beginning of the twentieth century, almost entirely in exposed stone and in an imaginative neo-medieval style. The interiors are enriched by a cycle of frescoes by Silvio Bicchi, a pupil of Giovanni Fattori.

  • Lake Segrino (Fig. 3): Suggestive elongated and shallow lake. Very clean and quiet, it is perfect for relaxing moments in the middle of nature.

  • Paths and mountain roads: Canzo is also known for its paths of all levels of difficulty, from the simplest ones, suitable also for families and school groups, to the more complex ones, suitable for expert and well-equipped mountaineers.

Categories: Places of historical value of artistic value of landscape value

Further pictures of Canzo in the section Photography
Canzo (Como, Italy): Stucco decorations at the apex of the triumphal arch of the Basilica of Santo Stefano
Canzo (Como, Italy): Old wall with fountain
Canzo (Como, Italy): Interior of the dome of the Church of the Saints Francis and Mirus
Canzo (Como, Italy): Interior of the Basilica of Santo Stefano
Canzo (Como, Italy): Old courtyard door
Canzo (Como, Italy): Arch of the presbytery and vault of the transept of the Basilica of Santo Stefano
Canzo (Como, Italy): Internal court
Canzo (Como, Italy): Entrance of a villa in Gajum street
Canzo (Como, Italy): Presbytery and choir of the Basilica of Santo Stefano
Canzo (Como, Italy): Interior of the Church of the Saints Francis and Mirus
Canzo (Como, Italy): Vault of the crossing of the Basilica of Santo Stefano