The church of Santa Maria del Tiglio (St. Mary of the Lime Tree) rises in an enchanting position, between Lake Como and Mount Sasso Pelo; the sole surviving record of Como Romanesque was built in the second half of the XII century and, according to tradition, it owes its name to the lime tree grown in the bell tower.
The church was originally a baptistery dedicated to St. John the Baptist, a place where baptism was performed and on which the other churches of the area depended.
The church was built next to the parish church of St. Vincent and went through different historical phases: during Roman times it was as a pagan temple, then become a place of worship of the Christian religion. It is a true masterpiece of Romanesque art, made using white Musso marble and blackstone from Olcio. The façade looks like a single body with the bell tower with a square base and the octagonal top. The bell tower is characterized by the presence of mullioned, triple and blind arches, typical of Roman architecture. Bas-reliefs depicting important figures of Christian iconography are carved on the façade. A bas-relief, representing two protuberances called the "Breasts of Queen Teodolinda", symbol of fertility, is certainly the most curious figure thanks to its originality. The walls are elegantly decorated with pilasters, hanging arches, loopholes, columns and loggias. Apses and oculi are made of white and black stones decorated with symbolic images in bas-relief.
The interior of the church is a grandiose and almost square setting environment and preserves elements that recall its complex history, a colorful mosaic floor and an underground baptismal font, still dating back to the early Christian baptistery.
The walls are today almost completely bare whether, originally, in the lower part of them they were richly decorated. Of all these paintings there are few remains dating back to the XIV and the XV century (“Giudizio Universale”, “San Giovanni Battista”, “I Re Magi”, “Crocefisso” e “Trinità”).
Every day: 8.30am-7pm