St. Joseph’s Oratory

The unadorned facade of the Oratory of San Giuseppe is actually the treasure chest of an artistic treasure that lies hidden inside.

This place of worship was born alongside an important project started by Don Giovanni Maria Santi, a parish priest from Isola Dovarese who lived between the 16th and 17th centuries. At his death, he left the islanders a legacy of support that could give dignity, hope, and opportunity to the less well-off. Part of his inheritance was used to build this building, which became a symbol of the charity organization.

The dedication to the Saint is indicated by the sculpture on the recently restored portal: here, in fact, Saint Joseph is portrayed as a worker on one side, and in front of the miracle of the flowering of the rod on the other.

Inside, a single nave welcomes the faithful, showing rich depictions on the walls, the work of the Cremonese artist Domenico Joli, and with a cycle of paintings attributed to Vincenzo Borroni that represent the salient moments of the life of Saint Joseph, a figure who is interpreted under multiple facets, as a worker, as a man, as a father, as a preceptor. The culmination of this character is interpreted in the representation of the Holy Family placed in the apse. In the small church there is a very important altar, which has little to envy in terms of majesty to those of the archpriestal church. In the sacristy there is a cupboard for the sacred vestments, the work of the Parmesan master Giovanni Manfredini and the Isola assistant Giovanni Tigoni. So much wealth was the object of harsh criticism from the Isola population in the second half of the 18th century, when the administrator Bonzi was accused of squandering the funds of the pious work, a project that, kept alive by many other generous islanders over time, is still in operation today in the guise of the ASP San Giuseppe. A gift from General Francesco Pistoja in 1878 is the sundial traced on the southern facade.

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