Oratorio San\'Antonio di Padova

Saint Anthony of Padua

Is an octagonal building which during the 18° century added a portico, which confers to the chapel its present appearance. Inside the building, a fresco of Carloni, illustrates life-size scenes of Christ’s life.

A plague struck the village mid-17th century, and all prayers were in vain, as the elderly and undernourished children passed on to a better life. One last attempt was made to halt the plague: build a temple to Saint Anthony of Padua to ingratiate the village in the eyes of the patron of the poor, the famished and the derelict. A symbol of love, faith, and hope, it was designed by local artists Paleari, Ruggia, and Isella, who at that time had moved to Parma and Tuscany. It was the most beautiful building in Morcote and resembled the temple painted by Raphael in his famous painting, The Marriage of the Virgin. In 1676 the oratory was completed: all that was missing now were the interior decorations. The generosity of Bartolomeo Paleari, stucco craftsman and entrepreneur from Turin, contributed to the completion of the work; he also received the support of the Sardi and Isella families, and commissioned painter Giovanni Carloni of Rovio to carry out the work. Prof. Pietro Gerosa, who studied the Carloni family, writes, ‘The building’s biggest merit, more than its architectural grace and beautiful location, are the frescoes on the walls. The artist gives us the illusion of being before a fluttering tapestry rather than a wall painting...’ The painted scenes are inspired by the Gospel and all the figures are technically well executed using vibrant colours. The stucco work on the upper and lower walls, restored in 1938 by sculptor Amleto Isella, bears Restelli’s signature; the other four, placed in the corners of the hectogon, are the unmistakable work of a Sardi. The most beautiful, yet incomplete stuccos on the small altar were done by stucco craftsman Roncaioli from Brusino Arsizio, Sardi’s student in Turin. The unfinished terrace was built in 1788 by Matteo del Friuli, paid for by the generous Provost Ambrogio Fossati. The oratory funds (which was supposed to be a baptistry) were donated by Morcote emigrants and fishermen, while the village’s craftsmen – bricklayers, stucco craftsment, painters, ironsmiths, and carpenters – rolled up their sleeves and provided the free labour while the women transported all the material from the lakeshores on panniers.

Opening hours:


1 April to 30 September : 07.00 - 21.00

1 October to 31 March : 08.00 - 20.00