The name Villaricho appears for the first time in a deed of sale of 1154. Some documents testify, in 1239, the existence in the territory of Colico, a water mill that can reasonably be placed in Villatico, along the route of the canal miller. At the end of the 13th century there was certainly a small temple in Villatico, because the testimonies state that in this ancient community a religious service could be assured. Only towards the end of the 15th century, the church was dedicated to St. Bernardino, a preacher from Siena who crossed Italy by foot preaching religious reform, social justice and working for peace between cities then in conflict. He travelled through the Valtellina and touched the soil of Villatico. The last significant extension was completed in 1896, the date still visible over a round arch that separates the sanctuary from the body of the nave.
Over the centuries, the building formed the centre of religious and social life of the local farming community. Its antiquity appears from Basilica architecture. The room is divided in three naves by simple columns in ordinary masonry with five bays with round arches, barrel vaults for the central and the aisles. The altar is characterized by 18th century sinuous lines in black marble from Varenna inlaid with other coloured marbles. The walls of the chancel, the apse and the two triumphal arches that have a decorative display of unknown author, refer to the Baroque style and are all made with the technique of trompe d’oeil. On the walls the biblical episode of the Dream of Jacob’s ladder and his fight with the Angel are depicted; the barrel vault St. Bernardino in heavenly glory among multiple decorative elements. On the walls of the apse St. Bernardino is most likely flanked by St. Helen and St. Margaret. The two altars of the aisles and their statues, probably belonging to the original building, are dedicated to St. Joseph (right) at the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary (left). The triumphal arch, added onto the west side, of the nave shows a fresco of Christ in Glory, attributed to Tagliaferri.
The organ, almost certainly part of the original church, after the expansion of the late 19th century was rebuilt by the organ factory Marelli and placed above the main entrance.
Up until the end of the 19th century, the cemetery Villatico was found on the southern side of the square. Today a plaque on the wall of the church states: “Colico, respects this square that once held the tomb of your fathers.”
(text from the Brochure "Colico Outdoor")