It's a small but suggestive museum, prepared near the lower Church, with the entry from Viale Marco da Campione, it offers to the visitor a real summary of the life in Campione as far as the ancient religious traditions are concerned, from the solemnity of the patronal feast to the week and daily worship actions, from the Marian devotion of the Sanctuary of the Ghirli to the veneration of the Saints: good and irreplaceable fellows in the human adventure.
In twenty-eight glass-cases along the entrance wall, are displayed church ornaments, vestments and historical documents. Among them the manuscript by Clemente XIII who in 1749 granted the plenary indulgence to the Sanctuary of the Ghirli. There are also some charming editions of the Mass-book of the seventeenth and eighteenth century. You can find copies of letters which underline the extraordinary link of Cardinal Schuster with Campione, which are more recent but full of historical interest. Some ancient altar-cards and ex-vows coming from the Ghirli are also suggestive.
Among the Church ornaments particularly beloved by "grandfathers" there are the "bishops": four big reliquaries in silver-plated copper, bust-shaped, that were displayed during the solemnities. They represent Saint Zenone, St.Ambrose, St.Augustine and St.Charles, the cristian origin and the ambrosian tradition of Campione, but above all they tell the past when the feast was really a feast and you put on the nicest dress in order to go to Mass.
Among the vestments, there are the extraordinary and refined damask clothes of the eighteenth century, a Milanese gift by the marchesa Trivulzi to her son, monk of Saint Ambrose monastery and vicar in Campione. The objects that have a sentimental and inestimable value are fourteen Via Crucis canvases: they have been often restored carefully and they have gained the beauty of the original composition, by an artist of the end of the eighteenth century.The woodwork Tabernacle of the ancient high altar of Saint Zenone is a beauty to discover; it was destroyed but then rebuilt; it is also possible to admire the next altar in black marble of Varenna which dates back to 1742.
On the walls big religious canvases are displayed. The two ascribed to the master of Campione Isidoro Bianchi (see Masters of Campione) deserve praise. Once they were kept in the Sanctuary of the Ghirli and they represent respectively the move of the animals onto the Noah's Ark and the Presentation of the Infant Mary in the Temple, a copy of a Venetian work by Tintoretto. The number and the importance of the objects and of the works displayed there would deserve a wider description.
Besides, you have to mention a life-size photographic reproduction of a canvas placed in Saint Ambrose in Milan. It represents the complete sequence of the abbots of Saint Ambrose Monastery from its foundation to Charlemagne and the Archbishop Peter, until the Napoleonic abolition. Thousand years of history as far as Campione is concerned: Saint Ambrose feud, the unbroken presence of the monks, a community grown up in a particular context: in other words the reasons why Campione has kept its peculiar identity for years. The parish museum has the ambition to keep some traces of that history, in order to enliven the link between past and present. For old people it will be a chance to refresh with joy their youth. For young people it will be a chance to discover a tradition whose beauty has the colour of hope.