Around on the half of XVI century Varallo’s new Jerusalem became the referring model for the following architectural and urbanistic realizations of Sacred Mounts. After the first foundation period,
since about 1560 works went on with renewed vigour promoted by Adda’s family (they were nobles from Milan but of valsesian origin), which
called to work Galeazzo Alessi, architect from Perugia and famous exponent of italian Renaissance already known in Rome, Genua and Milan.
Alessi, who had illustrated his project in the Libro dei Misteri (that is The Book of Misteries), proposed
to make a real urbanistic plan with well-defined buildings and itineraries; he planned to create a didactic and religious route, following
a chronological criterium and dedicated to the illustration of Jesus’ Life: with this ‘order’ he wanted to substitute the topographic
and evocative Palestine’s Holy Places one wanted instead by Caimi.
Of that Alessi’s big project they only realized the entering arch, the first chapel and part of paths and squares. The intervention of
Saint Carlo Borromeo, Bishop of Milan in fact stopped works: he didn’t agree with the monumentality proposed by Alessi, because it deeply
differed from the original simple and franciscan spirit wanted by Caimi and Gaudenzio Ferrari.
The same happened for the following construction of other complexes: Borromeo had introduced for the first time building rules which
he wanted to be somehow strictly related to the newly born aim of organizing in the right way the religious catechesis.
Anyway Alessi’s planning, even if it was only partially realized, produced an emulation effect which also influenced new chapels projects
characterized by more advanced architectural drawings. Since 1590 onwards in fact all Sacred Mounts had been built following a sort
of ordering project, following an ideal architectural planning, but architecture, as Borromeo wanted, were always subordinated to
the particular attention given to examplary subjects of religious didactics.
Chapels are not simple buildings made by humble master-builders according to local traditions to contain holy scenes, they have also
become places rich in special architectural and scenic characteristics. Even if different from place to place, these characteristics
have been influenced both by artists and by architects, but also by each dioceses, which were, at this age, all independent by the
one of Milan.
A very remarkable example of this way of intending religious
complexe construction is the one of Varese, that is the result of the religious aims of its inventor, father Giovan Battista Aguggiari,
combined with its designer’s ones (the designer was the architect Giuseppe Bernasconi). The complexe of Varese is now a finished scenic
result that is stylistically homogenuous and unitarian.