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Basilica prepositurale di San Paolo

Via Fiammenghini 14, Cantù

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History and Architecture

Built at the end of the 11th century (at the same time as the foundation of the Benedictine monastery, as a church shared by several parishes, including that of Santa Maria), it was given the designation of provost at the behest of St Charles Borromeo in 1584, the year in which he transferred the pieve from Galliano to Cantù. A building in the form of a basilica, with a nave and two aisles, it has undergone substantial alterations over time: originally it was bordered by a portico with twin columns that stretched from the sacristy to the main entrance; subsequently the first section of the portico was replaced by a pronaos, while the rest was demolished to make room for the construction of the chapel of the Crucifix; then the wooden coffers of the nave were replaced with barrel vaults. Elevated by Pius XII to the status of a minor basilica in 1950, the surviving part was restored in 1965 thanks to the initiative of Cardinal Ildefonso Schuster, under the supervision of the architect Alfonso Orombelli. The sacristy houses a fine canvas by Camillo Procaccini (1551-1629): Appearance of the God of the Bible to the Army (Conversion of Saint Paul). The campanile is of particular interest: originally a stone tower of the Pietrasanta castle, built to defend the highest hill in the ‘borgo di Canturio’ as Cantù was known at the time, it was completed with a two-story brick belfry, surmounted by a tall spire also built of brick, to a design by the famous architect Pellegrino Tibaldi (1527-96).

Hours of opening to the public

Open while services are being held.