Oh, how many generations of students of the “Volta” (the Liceo Classico of Como - a secondary school devoted to humanities) have passed by Santa Cecilia!... Under that same portico, before reaching the adjacent entrance of the secondary school building, they entered the door of the church, where the floor (with a marvellous marble inlay), leading them forward, brought them towards the altar under a multitude of angels and putti. Crucial written tests, the worrying likelihood of oral tests – libera me Domine – required for the soul to be purified and for help to be beseeched with prayers. Santa Cecilia’s entryway is almost hidden by noble columns of onion-stone marble, but is well known to many worshippers; it is a threshold one crosses raising the eyes towards God whilst lowering them to look within one’s own heart. Columns reminiscent of Roman times, a purely baroque church, a school building of enlightened neoclassicism: all cities are a palimpsest that still shows, in the present, traces of times past, layered, overlapping, blending into each other. Not just monuments, but also places where life was lived and that clearly state that they are “the result of the work of man”. Exactly as it happens in this place in Como. Of course there are far superior and more frequented needy situations in the city, but still it abounds, like all others, with its own connective and characteristic tissue – often inappropriately considered less important – and is full of hidden treasures which is nice to go back to. However, in order to open one’s eyes from oblivion, perhaps clouded by habit (and even indifference), it is now necessary to receive some guidance that is able to bring back to life the historical past and throw a beam of light over many works of art. Thanks to the initiative of the “Fondation Carlo Leone et Mariena Montandon” and the impassioned erudition of Alberto Rovi and Paolo Vanoli, this has already been done for the church of Santa Cecilia.

Mario Di Salvo

ISBN 978-88-7185-155-6