Palazzo Biumi Innocenti - Museo della Religiosita' Popolare
Palazzo Biumi-Innocenti is one of the oldest buildings in Verbania. Once perhaps used as a convent by the Augustinian Sisters, the mansion was for many years the property of the aristocratic Innocenti family of Pallanza, and later the property of the Biumi family. It was then bought by the Pallanza Town Council and used as a barracks following the addition of two new extensions, designed by the architect Pietro Bottini in 1863-64.
Since 1999 it has housed the offices, the library, the Landscape Study Centre, and the Art, Culture and Popular Devotion section of the Museum, as well as temporary exhibitions.
The section comprises two important displays:
1. The collection of ex-voto paintings
The collection of ex-voto paintings was donated to the Museo del Paesaggio in 1996 by the collector Eugenio Cefis, thanks to the good offices of Don Girolamo Giacomini, from whom the idea came. The collection is of international importance due to its rarity and the large number of the pictures. It includes 5,023 ex-votos painted between the 16th and the 20th centuries, from all the regions in Italy, though the largest number are from sanctuaries in Piedmont and Lombardy. There is also a considerable number of ex-votos from Mexico.
2. The collection of “santini” (holy cards)
Started by the Museo del Paesaggio in 1982, the collection of “santini” (holy cards) today numbers 80,000. They come from all over the world; the rarest and oldest date from the 16th century. The collection has been assembled primarily through donated cards. It may be seen only on request.
The part of the Museum’s library dealing with books on religious topics and specific publications on ex-votos and santini completes the collections in this section.