The parish church stands in the XI Febbraio square, near the baptistery, overlooking the renowned Venere Gulf, from where you are presented with an enchanting view. The church was built in the 5th or 6th century on the ruins of a watering place, dating back to the first century, but the building that can be seen today is the result of the restoration works of the 16th century. Originally the church had just one nave and lateral arcades, but in the 16th century it was transformed into a three naves church. The façade, finished in 1698, is an example of mannerism and baroque style. Inside the church, worth seeing are also the trapezoidal crypt, with five bays and three apses, the 16th-century altar-piece representing the martyrdom of S. Stefano and the lateral chapels, decorated with interesting 17th-century frescoes and stuccoes.
San Stefano: Description
In the presbytery, two works by the painter Castelli from Menaggio. Above the altar of the Madonna, at the front of the left nave, you find a copy of a painting by Bernardino Luino depicting Maria with Jesus and an angel.
The original painting was given to France when this part of Italy was under French domination, with the promise that the district court would be brought from Tremezzo to Menaggio; the original work is now at the Louvre. The altar is surrounded by copper medallions representing scenes from the Madonna’s life. In the middle of the right nave there is a large painting of San Giorgio but the artist is unknown.
The altar of “Il Sacro Cuore" is embellished with stuccoes of the 17th century by the “maestri intelvesi" (famous sculptors and craftsmen of the Val d’Intelvi who passed their experience from father to son and worked all over Europe).