Basilica di San Vittore
Basilica di San Vittore, Churches of Varese
The Basilica di San Vittore represents the religious heart of Varese, alongside the Torre Campanaria and the Battistero di San Giovanni.
The current structure is the result of work undertaken at three different points of history; the presbytery was the first part to be built, in the first half of the 16th century. There followed the hall with three naves, which replaced the existing church, which is thought to have been Romanesque. Built between 1589 and 1625, the hall culminates with a cupola made by Giuseppe Bernasconi. Finally, the neo-classical façade was added between 1788 and 1791, to a design by Leopoldo Pollack.
Inside, your gaze is immediately attracted by the presbytery, above which the polygonal apse stands. Designed in the Bramante style, the apse was later modified by work beginning in the second half of the 17th century.
The altar – a notable example of the Lombard Barocchetto style – was designed by Milanese architect Bartolomeo Bolla and built by the Buzzi sculptors from Viggiù between 1734 and 1742; Elia Vincenzo Buzzi carved the statues to a design by Pierantonio Magatti.
The current layout of the presbytery – in accordance with the findings of the Second Vatican Council – was finished in 1991 and saw the construction of the altar, the ambo, the seat and the processional cross in memory of Pope Paul VI. All were designed by Floriano Bodini.
San Vittore's central location is matched by that of the province of Varese as a whole, which is set in an area of incredible beauty.
Over the years, the splendid countryside has served as inspiration for several art trends, including Art Nouveau architecture. This style became popular in the area, inspired by the dynamic combinations formed by the light of the mountains, the lake and the plains.