Wonder  }  Place of worship

St. Bartholomew in Montibus

An ancient Romanesque church nestled in the woods

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Where is


Ss34 17, 28822 Cannobio Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, Italy (0m s.l.m.)


What it is and where it is

San Bartolomeo in Montibus is a church of the purest Romanesque style built in the early 13th century. It was the ancient parish church to which the tiny nearby hamlets, populated by farmers and ranchers, referred. Perched in splendid solitude on the eastern flank of Lake Maggiore, it is located in the municipality of Cannobio (Vb) at about 400 m above sea level and is a national monument.

Why it is special

It rises mightily, silently nestled in a chestnut forest, where the dry stone walls supporting the terracing, once cultivated with potatoes and cereals, are still visible.

Not to be missed

Around the church, there are at least three things not to be missed. The view, among the vegetation, that sweeps between the Swiss mountains and the Ticino valley, as far as Luino and Valcuvia. The nearby bridge over the gorge where the water that has been flowing for millennia fed a mill whose millstones can still be seen leaning against the centuries-old chestnut tree. And the chestnut tree itself, which rivals in height the bell tower and seems to protect the entire architectural complex.

A bit of history

A parish church with a baptismal font and imposing 1550 fresco of the martyrdom of St. Bartholomew, it remained so until 1717 when, due to the depopulation of the surrounding mountain pastures, a new church dedicated to the Santissima Annunziata was built in a more accessible location from the lake shore in the nearby hamlet of San Bartolomeo Valmara. From the main entrance in the prothyrum, descending steep steps leads to the Latin-cross nave. A small door to the right provides access to the bell tower while a wrought-iron gate divides the nave from the apse.

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