Art and culture
Chiesa di San Zeno

The church of San Zeno was built in a strategic place overlooking the lake and the valley before the year one thousand, in the Ottonian period, on a pre-existing sacred area at the top of Mount Auragio when the cult of San Zenone (bishop of Verona in 4th century) and is the oldest in the valley. It arose to dissolve the vow of Comacine masters caught by a storm on the lake off the coast of Bellagio while they were returning from the construction of the church of San Zenone in Verona. Of very ancient and unifying cult, it has always had the function of a bulwark for the entire community during the period of caravan transits from the Alps to the Po Valley. The building had a façade painted in red and a castle with a bell and was consecrated in 1215 by Bishop Guglielmo della Torre on the relics of the Holy Sepulcher as can be read in the inscriptions on the tombstone of San Zeno (preserved in the bishop's lapidarium in Como) and was guarded by hermit monks. From the century From the 15th century onwards it was embellished with stuccoes, vaults, niches and statues and paintings dedicated to San Bernardo, the Holy Virgin Immaculate and San Rocco and maintained by brotherhoods. Monte San Zeno has always been a destination for devotion from all the surrounding valleys and the church had a small sacristy with a segmental vault and a constant source of water.

Chiesa di San Zeno

In 1956 it was struck by lightning resulting in the collapse of the roof and bell tower and remained reduced to rubble until 1996 when the "Pro San Zeno Committee - a church for the 3rd Millennium" began to rebuild it. The ancient ruins and the ancient altar were blessed by Bishop Alessandro Maggiolini in 2000. On the facade there is the Bell of the Youth, signed by fifty young Intelvesi, testimony of millenary faith and blessed by Pope John Paul II in Rome on 27 May 1998. the ascent route includes stations of the Via Crucis made with railway sleepers by the Alpine groups in the valley in memory of the retreat of the Don (1942 – 1943). The adjacent hermitage, built on the ancient foundations, was built (2013 – 2015) by the Friends of San Zeno. The church was solemnly consecrated to San Zeno by Bishop Diego Coletti in 2015 and is full of donations of works of art, including the copy of the Iron Crown, in memory of the very ancient Christian origins of the area.


Chiesa di San Zeno Chiesa di San Zeno

Chiesa di San Zeno

The traditional local festival is held in August.

For more information visit the website of the Municipality of Cerano d'Intelvi:

Read also:

By Andrea Zoppolato – Milan City State – VAL D'INTELVI: an island among the LAKES (one hour from Milan)


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