Fri 27°C

Church of San Giovanni Battista

The neo-baroque church, built on the initiative of the Servites between 1722 and 1729, was described by the historian Giuseppe Martinola as "the compendium of the image of virtue in the art of the local people", because on the one hand it was entirely the work of local artists and, on the other, the community of Mendrisio worked to raise the necessary funds, coming to work even on Sundays. It was designed by Giovan Pietro Magni from Castel San Pietro (nave) and Giuseppe Antonio Soratini (presbytery, choir and sacristy). The restorations carried out by Silvano Gilardi in 1994, under the direction of the architect Lino Caldelari, have restored the beauty of the building. Inside, the single nave is sumptuously decorated with stuccoes dating from 1724-27. The most valuable, executed by Antonio Catenazzi, frame the ovals above the four doors with an exuberant variety of motifs that create a sumptuous complex. Another valuable work is in the first chapel on the left: the altarpiece by Francesco Innocenzo Torriani, depicting the Madonna and Child appearing to Saints Rocco (left) and Sebastian (right). In the vault of the nave and in the apse, Giovan Battista Bagutti frescoed four medals in 1774. The figures depicted express intense feelings with their eloquent poses and are monumental thanks to the wide drapery; the colours are graduated to suggest the ascent to the heavens: darker in the lower parts, brighter in the upper ones. Particular attention deserves the magnificent and ancient organ in the presbytery, already belonged to the old church of the sixteenth century, while in a niche of the choir is visible the statue of Our Lady of Sorrows that is carried through the streets of the village in the historic procession of Good Friday.