BEATA VERGINE del ROSARIO Parish - Art and Culture committee

Castiglione Olona is famous in Italy thanks to the Cardinale Branda Castiglioni (1350-1443), important person of the european culture in his time. Due to him Castiglione Olona, characterized by a deep-rooted history in the roman age, became precious and unique by means of palaces, churches and incomparable works of art, like the Masolino da Panicale's (1383-1440) frescoes. In the village the spirit of Cardinale Branda who founded a public and free school "to dispel the ignorance" is still living.

These pages are a summary of the artistic and faith inheritance of Castiglione Olona, as well as an invitation to visit the place.

The Cardinale Branda Castiglioni

The ancient origin of the village

According to the tradition the ancient village of Castiglione Olona was founded in 401 a.C. by the roman general Stilicone. The place was an important outpost for many centuries. In 1208 the Milan Church delivered the castle of Castiglione to Corrado, son of the Count Berengario called "Da Castiglione". The village was the centre of military vicissitudes linked to the history of the Seprio countryside, until the complete submission of the Castiglioni family to Visconti of Milan.

The complete transformation of the village in the first XV century decades is due to Branda Castiglioni (1350/1443), the eldest of the noble family. He transformed the village according to the toscan humanism style. Due to the Cardinale will, the village was provided with religious and social services; churches, convents, palaces and schools. Famous artists as Masolino da Panicale, Paolo Schiavo, Lorenzo di Pietro said "il Vecchietta", the Solari brothers took part to the achievement of the "ideal citadel".


The Collegiata (center in the photo) consacred on 25 March 1425, was built by Alberto, Giovanni and Pietro Solari architects in Milan. It preserves the stories of the Virgin by Masolino da Panicale and those of Saint Stefano and Lorenzo by Vecchietta and Paolo Schiavo. Near the Collegiata, inside the north tower of the old fortress, the stories of Saint John the Baptist were frescoed by Masolino in 1435.

The Church of the Most Holy Body of Christ was built in 1437, according to Brunelleschi's architecture. It offers the researchers grounds of great interest. On the front there are the statues of Saints Antony and Cristoforo.

The Cardinal's Palace includes the Saint Martin Chapel frescoed by "il Vecchietta" (1437), the Cardinal's room and the Cardinal's study with a fresco by Masolino and "il Vecchietta".


Tommaso di Cristofano Fini, called Masolino, was born in Panicale in Valdarno near Florence in 1393. In 1427 he took service with Cardinale Branda Castiglioni, to whose patronage is due the most brilliant period of his artistic career. As a matter of fact, from 1427 until 1435 the Tuscan painter created his best works: the frescoes of the Chapel of Saint Catherine in Saint Clemente in Rome (Cappellania of Branda Castiglioni) and those of the Collegiata and the baptistery of Castiglione Olona. He died in Florence between 1440 and 1447.


The parish of Castiglione Olona carried out several activities of restoration recently. One of the most important concerned the Collegiata's front, concluded in 1990.

More recently the following works have been performed.

The work was possible thanks to the loan issued by the Regione Lombradia (FRISL loan). The loan amounts at Lit. 518.000.000 and now it is in return by 10 years instalments.

To support the instalments the parish of Castiglione Olona expects financial aid by estimators.


To inform about art in Castiglione Olona, a CD-ROM will be soon available. More information:

For more details, please visit our page:

Please visit our guestbook and add your own entry if you like.

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For information or remarks: Parrocchia di Castiglione Olona, 21043 Castiglione Olona (VA)-ITALY, tel. 0331-850280

Page updated on June .. 01 . 97

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Castiglione Olona Parish, 21043 Castiglione Olona (VA)- ITALY-, tel. 0331-850280

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