Sanctuary of Santa Maria del Giogo

The Sanctuary of Santa Maria del Giogo is immersed in an unspoilt landscape that sweeps from the Polaveno valley to the wide basin of  Sebino.

An ancient monastery, the building stands on the border of the municipalities of Polaveno and Sulzano, whose boundaries run along the western wall of the structure. Forfeited during the Napoleonic suppressions and now largely privately owned, the building flanks the ancient and evocative church dedicated to the Madonna.

With an almost rectangular floor plan, the temple is divided into three parts: the entrance porch, the nave and the presbytery. The almost identical width of the presbytery and nave, as well as other clues, have led to the hypothesis that the original orientation of the church was reversed and that the current entrance was the ancient presbytery. Crossing the threshold, you find yourself inside a simple and austere space, which only in recent decades has allowed for surprising discoveries. In fact, restoration work carried out on the left wall of the first bay revealed numerous layers of frescoes dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries. Numerous extremely fascinating Maestà paintings can be seen, including a 14th-century panel in which the Virgin Mary is framed by a veil held up by flying angels. The large scene of the Last Supper can also be ascribed to the same period. Many fragments have emerged from the various pieces that have been discovered, suggesting the presence of a cycle that covered almost the entire length of the walls of the nave. The structure of the altar of the Sanctuary of Santa Maria del Giogo is among the works of a certain value, belonging to the production. As for the statues of the niches: the central one depicting the Virgin is relatively recent, while the side ones showing St Maurus and St Bartholomew date back to the 17th century.