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Church of S. Maria Annunciata in Breno

Church of S. Maria Annunciata in Breno


The Church of Santa Maria Annunciata in Breno is located in Visgnola, a small hamlet of Bellagio.

The building is raised above street level; it is accessible through a double staircase which precedes the facade and which is covered by a pronaos which follows the development.

The origin is unknown. The church is mentioned in the records of pastoral visits of the sixteenth century, but actually no certain date is known for the foundation. It became a parish church in the second half of the 19th century in place of the Church of San Martino.

Inside the church, beautiful paintings on canvas and an icon with compartments behind the high altar, work of a local author, can be admired.

Hanging on the walls, on the sides of the nave, there are three canvases dating back to the end of the fifteenth century, originally belonging to the church of San Martino: entering, the first one on the left is a work of the sixteenth century and represents the “Predica di S. Alberto Magno” (Preaching of S. Alberto Magno) by Alvise de Donati.

In the canvas depicting Madonna del Rosario, Maria is seated on a throne with the child surrounded by many characters among whom San Domenico and San Pietro stand out, while below a pope and a sovereign, representatives of temporal and spiritual power, are illustrated.

There is a legend about the building of this church: a lord of the Castle (the current Villa Serbelloni) used to go up every day from the village to Visgnola and arrived at the Fontana degli avelli (the one next to the current church in later periods, from which water comes out of the mouth of two granite heads in human feature), stopped there to quench his thirst. This gentleman suffered from legs infirmity and therefore his walks always took place on horseback.
One day, after stopping as always in that place, he felt his legs healed. Surprised by what happened to him, he remembered that his horse used to perform a kind of bow before leaving the fountain, so, called his men, he ordered them to dig in front of the fountain: that was when, in a short time, was brought to light an image of Maria with Child, (which is said to be the one still visible below the central window overlooking the choir inside the church).
He then decided to build a church there and to dedicate it to the Virgin. This building dates back to the 16th century, but it only became parish seat in 1857.

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