East Santa Maria or West Santa Maria? South Santa Maria or North Santa Maria? Santa Maria here… Santa Maria there? We wondered how to divide this new beautiful tour to discover our ancient village and we decided to propose two different itineraries, that take their names from our dialect: “Santa da ina part” (Santa from one side)… and the opposite “Santa da l’auta part!” (Santa from the other side).
Welcome to “Santa da ina part”. Here you will find the attractions in Via Rosmini, Via Cavalli and Via Rossetti Valentini! The brief descriptions and the photo gallery present this part of the “Sentieri e Pensieri” Tour. The useful map below will help you with your visit!
Enjoy your visit!
THE CHAPEL OF “BASTONI”
This chapel was owned by a branch of the Bona family; they were called “bastunitt” after the nickname of their forefather. The chapel derives its name from them.
The frescoes were painted by Luigi Morgari and represent “Madonna del Sangue”, Saint Charles Borromeo, St. Mathews, St. Peter on the left; St. Francis, St. John The Baptist and St. Paul on the right.
It was restored in 1895 by Paolo and Teresa Borgnis.
THE CHAPEL OF PASQUÈ
The “pasquè” or “pasquario” was the square where all the goats of the village where gathered in turns by one or two shepherds to move them to pasture. The frescoes were commissioned by the Borgnis-Bolongaro family and they were painted by Lorenzo Peretti (1774-1851). They represent the Madonna of The Rosary, St. Francis, The Virgin and St. Anna.
COLUMN WITH ROMANESQUE CAPITAL
This column with a Romanesque capital decorated with zoomorphic figures was part of the first ancient church of the village. In 1776 the column was used upside-down and a cross was carved on it; wax (agnus) was usually put into this carved cross, protected by a sort of small gate.
In 1881 the column was placed on the present stone basement.
These columns with crosses (there are other similar ones in the village) marked the borders of the village. Once the religious processions stopped at these crosses, as part of the rite to remove evil from the village.
This beautiful villa with garden is known as “ciòus”. It is a word of the local dialect and derives from the Latin word “clausum” that means “enclosed place”.
This house, owned by the Ponti family, combines the traditional stone roof, typical of local architecture, with refined elements characterizing “urban” villas: the size of the house, the vast park surrounding the villa, the wide entrance-staircase with the terrace.
The shutters were used here instead of the grilles that characterized local traditional architecture until the 18th century.
SCUOLA DI BELLE ARTI ROSSETTI VALENTINI
Giovanni Maria Rossetti Valentini (1796-1878) was a famous painter from Valle Vigezzo who taught in Radez and in Montpellier. He founded this free drawing school in Valle Vigezzo in 1881.
He wanted to teach his students also anatomy, music and French in order to provide them with a complete education.
The painting gallery on the first floor houses fine examples of noble portraits of the 18th century; thanks to the genre of the portrait the artists from Valle Vigezzo obtained great success also abroad.
This is the only School of Fine Arts in the Alps.
CASE SIMONIS (CA’ SCIMUN)
This group of houses and alleys has ancient medieval origins that cannot be found in other areas of Santa Maria Maggiore, but that are present in more ancient villages like Crana, Toceno and Craveggia. The buildings in “Via Cavalli”, known as “Caccimone”, have similar features to the areas where the other 6 families from Craveggia (Balchonus, de’Borgnis, Farina, de’ Mellerijs, Menabene, de’ Rubeis) settled from the 12th to the 14th century. This area is the only one that had also an agricultural production in the lands on the south and on the north of the village (the area of Chioso was sold by the Simonis in the 19th century).
The houses owned by the Cavalli family (as shown on the Rabbini Map in 1859) were composed by two buildings: one on the west side was a big, refined and frescoed construction; whereas the one on the east was quite simple. They were connected by a little porticoed street. The east building was then demolished. It was the house of Enrico Cavalli (1849-1919), the famous painter and one of the most important teachers of “Scuola di Belle Arti Rossetti Valentini”. After the demolition, near the main building a balcony with a fine gallery with arcades was built on first floor.
In front of this building there is the other “Casa Cavalli” with its wide park: it houses spectacular specimens of ancient trees and a fountain surrounded by Meilland roses. In the stone wall that surrounds the garden a votive chapel dedicated to “Madonna del Sangue di Re” can be admired. The big house (1860) was realised after an extension of a previous building. The garden also, as witnessed by the lateral position of the house, was enlarged after the purchase of new lands.
This is a noble building frescoed by Lorenzo Peretti (1774-1851) who was commissioned by his patrons, the Borgnis-Bolongaro family in 1810. Francesco Maria Borgnis, whose family had great success in Germany as bankers, married the noble Anna Maria Bolongaro from Stresa.
On the façade the ovals represent The Guardian Angel and The Virgin Mary.
On the north wall: Moses saved by the pharaoh’s daughter.
On the east façade: Noli me tangere.