Church of Saint Michael
When you first get to the built-up area, arriving off the Carpugnino exit to the left of the town, the very first thing you will see is the small church of the Madonna from Loreto, built in the fifteenth century. In square apse you can admire laudable paintings by various different artists, including the house of Sperindio Cagnoli, that the Visconti helped bring in during the sixteenth century. Besides the central illustration of the move from the House in Nazareth, there are depictions of the Annunciation, Nativity, Deposition, Crucifixion, and the Last Supper.
Over the course of the sixteenth century the building was expanded and equipped with a sacristy and a shrine dedicated to Saint Roch, with frescoes dating back to 1599 that depict Saint Jerome and the martyrdom of Saint Agatha. Later, in the seventeenth century, the shrine to Saint Charles and the bell tower were added.
If you leave your car in the nearby parking area at the tourism office, you can walk along a path that will bring you to the typical Visconti village. Surrounding this same parking lot, you can find a monument that tells the history of the umbrella makers (i lüsciàt) from Vergante who, during the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century, were famous throughout Europe for their craftsmanship and ability.
Another very beautiful architectural element is the leaning Romanesque Bell Tower of the Church of Saint Michael, built between 1025 and 1050. It includes six floors adorned with mullioned windows with one or two lights, one of which includes a small column adorned with a capital crutch and a sculpted façade. Its steep slope is most likely the result of a landslide that occurred in 1585, after which the church was abandoned until it became the parish church of the village. For the town of Massino, the leaning tower represents a strong element of regional identity. It’s not a coincidence that all social activities take place around the church of Saint Michael, including special events, parties, and demonstrations; the locals use this location as a point of reference. In the 1980s, the tower was secured after lightning struck its spire. Behind the church, a lovely, well-tended garden gives way to one of the most enchanting sights you’ll ever see of the three lakes: Lago Maggiore (Great Lake), Monate Lake, and Varese Lake.
Most of the church of Saint Michael was redone between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to include clearly Baroque elements, with the goal of strengthening the damaged structure; in any case the apse is an original, confirmed by the presence of sixteenth century frescoes adorning the walls. Inside, the church’s simple, cozy atmosphere continues to the end of the room, where you can find a series of frescoes from the Giovanni de Campo shop in Novara.
Open during the day.