Saint Maria’s bell tower

The “campanile”, designed in 1532 by the artists morcotesi Rossi and Paleari in Romanesque style, it was completed only in 1729 with the addition of an octagonal superstructure and the cupula, and so you can admire still today.

 

An elegant line which is pure Renaissance, despite boasting some elements – windows and Lombard bands – typical of Romanic architecture. You can glimpse a lion’s head on the northern side, overlooking the monumental cemetery, while the southern side, overlooking the lake, bears a sow’s head. Alas, we don’t have any specific information about these sculptures placed on the tower’s walls; however, if you’ve paid attention, you’ll remember how Morcote’s coat of arms also features a sow. The octagonal lantern set within a domed roof was placed in 1729, an elegant piece in keeping with the rest of the building. The lower levels are empty, whereas the upper floors feature pillars embraced by rounded bands and crenelated decorations overarching the three-mullioned windows above the Doric columns. Artists Rossi and Paleari, who had emigrated to Tuscany (a haven for other citizens of Morcote) designed the bell tower in 1532. The tower was completed in 1539 also thanks to all the locals providing money and manual labour. The large bell was recast in 1903 at the behest of former local priest, Antonio Rossi, who had emigrated to Boston. The medium-sized bell dates to 1821, while the small bell, the figure of the guardian angel, Saint John the Baptist, Saint Anthony the Great, and Saint Catherine, are from 1825. The bells’ peal is an E-flat major and, if you’re lucky enough to hear them ring, you’ll be lulled into a state of contentment by their pleasant melody.