Via Soldani

The cross of Prà di Oss

(18th century)

This wrought iron cross was erected in memory of those who died in past epidemics. Until the 1950s the cross was decorated with flowers and blessed during a religious procession.


The area called Prà di Oss (after which the road Via Prato delle Ossa is named) lies outside the town wall, at some distance from the centre. Tradition has it that during plague epidemics shacks were built here to shelter the sick and that the unfortunates who succumbed to the disease were buried near this sort of isolation hospital. Epidemics were quite frequent in the past, from well before the plague described in Alessandro Manzoni's The Betrothed. Another such hospital is said to have been erected during the 17th century outbreaks in the Ca’ da l’Angiola area – near Fontana Ciosa. A wrought iron cross was set up in remembrance of plague victims; it still stands at the crossroads between Via Prato delle Ossa and Via Soldani, on the side towards the lake. In the past, on the Sunday following 1st November after evening prayers, the people of Angera went in procession to the Bettolino, between Via Matteotti and Via San Martino, and down Via Prato delle Ossa to the cross, which was decorated with flowers for the occasion. The priest, in his black cope, stopped beside the cross to recite psalms and prayers, then sprinkled it with Holy Water and gave a benediction.

This tradition continued until the mid-1950s.

In 1995 the Mario Bertolone History and Archaeology Association of Angera commissioned the restoration of the cross by the Angera firm of Colombo. 


The text was written with the help of Remo Cardana.

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