Ex-convent and ex-gate of Santa Caterina
Site n. 4 - Angera Open Air Museum
The ex-convent of Santa Caterina, martyr and virgin, was built in the 14th century as a hospital adjacent to the church of the same name. All that remains today is the exterior and some internal structures; the building now contains private dwellings. It is sited at the entrance to the town, at the junction of Via Roma with Via Diaz and Via Cadorna, several tens of metres from Piazza Parrocchiale.
The 15th century hospital housed the sick, the needy, and poor women. When the last minister Giovanna da Cassiano died in 1487, the Angera community decided to convert the building into a convent; it was dedicated to Saint Catherine and entrusted to the Order of the Servants of Mary. Later (1578) the church was rebuilt; it no longer stands. The convent had a rather fraught existence: it was suppressed in 1654, reopened in 1688, and finally closed in 1770.
The works of art from the convent were sold or moved elsewhere: the statue of the Madonna dei Sette Dolori was transferred to the present-day parish church. The fine (but anonymous) Saint Catherine's altarpiece is now in the Madonna della Riva sanctuary.
Near the convent stood Saint Catherine's Gate, which gave access to the town; amidst controversy, the monument was demolished in 1913 to make room for a tramline. Several recent excavations have brought to light Roman and medieval structures and finds in the vicinity of the current gate.