In the late 1800’s a priest named D.F. Falcone purchased Incocco and set out to use this glorious sunny hillside setting to create himself a spectacular residence. His crowning jewel was to build the “Madonna delle Grazie” church on the panoramic south facing plateau overlooking the hills surrounding Lake Maggiore. Innumerable local people were employed for this laborious job and stories are still told here of great-grandfathers travelling days by oxen and cart to bring stones from the mountains to create the 60 cm thick walls.
The central portion of the church has a rounded apse with a 6mt. high vaulted ceiling and a doorway leading into the small sacristy. From there a 20mt steeple is accessible by a series of ladders, so one could ascend, emerging onto a tiny balcony around the cupola, protected by the elaborate iron railing entwining Don Falcone’s initials, and gaze in all directions over the peaceful green, rolling countryside.

(Note: During renovation of the steeple we managed to save a series of graffiti with names and dates of people who did climb here at the turn of the century. We will display these in the church for those who are interested.)


The Church of Incocco                       Madonna delle Grazie  circa 1894



The church interior was very simple, using few colours and relying on architectural features for its classic beauty. Unfortunately, the steeple bells, altar, seating and railings have all disappeared over the years; however, the lovely internal choral balcony remains, all the inner doors and main entrance door were maintained and refinished, the original front stained glass window was repaired and the small statue of the Virgin Mary, who graced a niche on the church façade, was rescued and preserved by the former owners’ foresight. She has been subsequently repaired, painted and replaced in her position of importance to once again overlook the winding laneway up to Incocco as she has for the last century, lending her namesake to this church “Madonna of the Graces”.

Today, the church has been given a new life as a place of peace for guests to eat, rest, listen to music, or just contemplate the beauty of the surroundings. The handmade terra cotta tiled floors throughout give warmth from the radiant heating below, a new inner glass vestibule allows the main church doors to be fully opened to admire the sunny view down the hillside while cosy within and all the windows have been duplicated up to modern standards. The sacristy had its beautiful vaulted brick ceiling exposed and a discrete kitchen is placed here, leading out onto a sunny sheltered flagstone terrace. Soon the climb will again be possible up to the new copper cupola with the majestic cross above it, to enjoy the countryside from the church steeple just as was done over a hundred years ago.