Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli (Saint Mary of the Angels)

This Gothic church and the annexed Franciscan monastery sit in the south-western outskirts of the town, where they were built between 1470 and 1474 by Pallavicino and Gianludovico Pallavicino, children of Orlando il Magnifico. Inside the church, in a niche covered in rock concretions is a Mourning over the Dead Christ by Guido Mazzoni (1476-77), a masterpiece of 15th century Emilian sculpture. There are eight life-size polychrome terracotta figures. The faces on two of the statues bear a strong resemblance to the people who commissioned the Mourning and have been rendered with extraordinary psychological introspection and emotional intensity. Recent restoration work (financed by the Ministry of Culture) has further enhanced this feature. Giuseppe Verdi attended this church from when he was a child, and on 6th January 1836, in the tense atmosphere of the controversy surrounding the contest for Collegiate chapel-master, he gave a keenly-attended organ concert. We can therefore imagine how Verdi must have internalized the silent pain and restrained theatricality of the group of statues only to have them resurface in the musical production of his adulthood. The detached fresco of Christ Fallen under the Cross by Nicolò dell’Abate (ca. 1543-44) and the painting with the Madonna and Franciscan Saints (ca. 1580) by Antonio Campi also deserve mention.


Via Provesi, 39 – Busseto (PR)
Tel. 0524.930154