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Chiesa di S. Stefano e Battistero di San Giovanni Battista

Via S. Stefano 46, Mariano Comense

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History and Architecture

Erected before the year 1000, it had a nave with no aisles, a choir and a single door. In 1570, Charles Borromeo invited the local people to enlarge it. By 1583, the date the work was completed, it had a nave and two aisles separated by ten columns. Further alterations gave the church its present appearance. The campanile is the tower of the Castello dei Marliani; the brick doorway was added on the advice of Federico Borromeo. The spire was raised in 1936, on the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of the instalment of Monsignor Gerolamo Colombo, who was to remain parish priest until 1943. The portal is surmounted by an arch, in which is set a mosaic depicting the martyrdom of St Stephen, restored in 1984. Standing alongside the church of Santo Stefano, the baptistery dedicated to St John the Baptist, classified as a National Monument since 1912, is a quadrangular construction in the Romanesque style with an octagonal dome, dating from the period around the year 1000, more precisely from the 12th century. The door, originally to the west, was moved to the east on the instructions of Federico Borromeo, and is sheltered by a small porch engraved with the following words: Absortos erithraea sile cum curribus hostes quam minor hich Stygium suffocat unda ducem (“Don’t speak of the enemies overwhelmed with their chariots by the wave of the Red Sea; here a much smaller wave suffocates the prince of hell”). Entering, we see a column surmounted by a capital on each side of the door. The one on the left is made of paglierino marble and carved with pronounced reliefs representing grape shoots on the edges and an oval face in the middle; the one on the right is made of white limestone and decorated with motifs on the front part that recall Romanesque art. The octagonal dome does not stand directly on the floor, but on special structures that turn the square underneath into an octagon.

Hours of opening to the public

Open every day at the times of services.