Sanctuary of Santa Maria di Piazza
The Sanctuary of Santa Maria di Piazza is located in the historic centre of Busto Arsizio, where an earlier church dedicated to the Virgin Mary stood, and was built between 1515 and 1522. Two names appear in the documents dealing with the construction of the temple: that of Antonio da Lonate, the executor of a project by Donato Bramante, and that of Tommaso Rodari, the well-known sculptor and architect active in the cathedral of Como. It is the city's sanctuary, in which the Madonna dell'Aiuto is worshipped, depicted with her hand outstretched to protect the population of Busto from impending dangers: wars, epidemics, in the past even famine. According to local historiography, the entire citizenry contributed substantially to the financing of the enterprise, in particular through donations from numerous lay confraternities, schools and consortia.
The rigorous cubic volume punctuated by pilasters is surmounted by a tiburium with jambs and lantern interpreting the typology of the Lombard tradition. Inside, the space becomes octagonal, set on pillars at recessed angles that enclose as many arches. The structure is enriched by a large rectangular presbytery. The eight-segmented dome is supported by a drum decorated with a sequence of niches with sculpted figures. The brick bell tower dates from 1584, replacing a collapsed medieval civic tower. The upper part, clad in light-coloured stone, was added by architect Carlo Maciachini in 1886-89.
The polychrome wooden statue of the Madonna dell'Aiuto is placed above the altar in the centre of the apse space. The simulacrum, dating from 1602, is a work by Fabrizio De Magistris. The symmetry and centrality of the figure of Mary emphasise the asymmetrical dynamism of the Child, who is placed to the side, as if sliding on the Mother's knee. In this particularity, De Magistris' work constitutes an innovation compared to traditional iconicity. The statues in the niches are also by Fabrizio De Magistris.
ADDRESS: Piazza Santa Maria , Busto Arsizio
- Weekdays: from 6.30 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. / from 3.30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
- Public holidays: from 9.00 a.m. to 12.00 p.m. / from 3.30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
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