Isolated on a spur of rock, stands the complex of San Michele in Torre de ‘Busi. Originally it had a military function and underwent several changes over the centuries, becoming a religious structure full of charm and art.
In the late Middle Ages there was a fortress that, in a clearly strategic and difficult to conquer position, controlled the main communication routes (in particular the road connecting Bergamo and Caprino with Calolzio and Lecco). In all likelihood the ancient “castle” that stood on the rocky promontory is what a document of 1222 cites with the name of “Castrum de la Bretta”.
San Michele can only be reached on foot through two mule tracks: the first one goes down from Torre Street (and takes place right next to the war memorial) while the other goes up.
On the little square in the center of the complex there are the canonical (on the left), the oratory of Santo Stefano (on the right) and the church of San Michele which can not be opened to the public as it is declared unfit.
The frescoes of the oratory of Santo Stefano
The oratory of Santo Stefano originally was perhaps the chapel of the ancient “castrum”. It is made up of 3 rooms and contains a particularly rich and interesting fresco cycle inside. In the first room you can see, probably by the same author, on the left the depiction of a “Madonna enthroned” and of Santa with his hands joined flanked by the tools used in weaving.
For this reason it is conceivable that it is Santa Domenica and that the fresco should remind the faithful of their duty to rest on holidays.
On the other side there are several figures painted in the first half of the 1400s: there are 5 variations of the Madonna in Trono and Sant’Antonio Abate. In the XVII-XVIII centuries the walls were covered (bleached) with lime, as a hygienic measure against the plague.
In the years 1992-1993, thanks to the intervention of the Superintendency for Artistic and Architectural Heritage of Milan, the oratory was the subject of an important campaign of restorations to the structure and to the internal paintings.
The splendid frescoes we see today were brought back to light. With the restoration numerous good-looking frescoes have been brought to light.
They depict saints and different Marian images and belong to different decorative moments which, in the current state of the studies, can be placed between the 15th and 15th centuries.