Being for centuries the center of religious life for the entire community, the Prepositural Church of San Bernardino from Siena stands in the center of the village of Villatico and it is defined as the "mother church" of the territory of Colico. The light filtering through the single lancet windows of the aisles and the twin lancet windows of the deeply recessed side altars creates a game of light and shadow that aids the faithful in the atmosphere of contemplation and prayer, as well as highlighting details that only an attentive and curious visitor can appreciate.


The church is rigorously oriented towards the east equinoctial in observance of the oldest tradition. The facade is glorious and harmonious. The construction of the building, as a unifying symbol of the religious identity of our territory, followed simultaneously the demographic increase. The primitive church required a first reconstruction around 1670, and shortly before 1750, the presbytery was expanded with the construction of the apse. There were two more occasions for which it was necessary to provide for an adaptation of the structure: firstly with the elongation of the nave towards the west, then in 1896-1897 with the construction of the side aisles and the new facade inspired by the so-called "Lombardo" style. It is not difficult to grasp, from the first glance, the extraordinary sense of balance originated from the geometric rigor that inspires both the ensemble and the individual architectural parts. Pilasters that suggest the distribution of the internal space, the rose window and the lateral roses, the hanging arches that run along the entire cornice and constitute the only decorative element of the side walls, follow the typical style of the lakeside churches and even earlier the Romanesque style of the 11th and 12th centuries. At the top of the pilasters there are angels’ statuettes. Notice the particular molding of the three portals culminating in lunettes.


The interior immediately reveals the antiquity of the church in its basilican architectural layout. The liturgical hall, with three aisles, is divided by simple columns in ordinary masonry with five bays of round arches with barrel vaults for the central nave and cross vaults for the side ones. What makes the environment particularly enchanting is the extensive and unified decorative apparatus of frescoes and trompe l'oeil that covers the walls of the entire presbytery, the apse, and the two triumphal arches.


Dominating the central nave with its sinuous 18th-century lines, crafted from black Varenna marble and inlaid with other polychrome marbles. In the same style, there is an ancient washbasin in the sacristy and the balustrades that delimit the side altars and the baptistery, upon which one can observe the coat of arms of the donor.


At the altar at the head of the left side aisle, we admire a statue of the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary. Particularly notable are the small paintings running along the sides of the niche, depicting the joyful mysteries of the Rosary (left side), sorrowful mysteries (lower side), and glorious mysteries (right side).


The right-side altar is dedicated to Saint Joseph. It does not possess any particular architectural merit apart from the wooden statue of the Saint with the Child, placed within the niche.


In a niche of the left side aisle the baptismal font is situated, featuring a beautiful monolithic basin elegantly sculpted into a cup topped with a precious bronze lid, a work by the sculptor from Talamona, Roberto Bricalli, depicting the baptism of John the Baptist and Jesus with the Twelve. Behind the basin stands an artistic and valuable walnut wood canopy. It was at this baptismal font that Blessed Sister Maria Laura Mainetti received baptism on August 22, 1939. She was beatified on June 6, 2021, killed "in hatred of the Faith" and recognized by the Church among the Martyrs.


The organ, originally belonging to the primitive church and refurbished by the Milan organ factory Marelli after the late nineteenth-century expansion, is located above the main entrance. In the registry of the "Income and Expenditure of the Church of San Bernardino of Colico," it is recorded that in 1815 "by order of the Illustrious Fabbriceri Bettiga, Sgheiz, and Piva," 460 lire were paid to Mr. Giuseppe Rubini of Aveno for the "purchase made of an organ from the brothers Lavelli." The money for its purchase came from 159 lire from the offers "alms of the box" and 300 lire from the Casai Forest, belonging to the church of San Bernardino, auctioned in February 1815. In December of the same year, Mr. Felolo was commissioned to the "organ factory", and in 1818, Mr. Giacinto Dubini became the organist for movable feasts.


The triumphal arch, constructed with the raising of the internal levels of the hall and the extension towards the west of the central nave, along with the new construction of the side aisles at the end of the nineteenth century, displays a precious fresco depicting the "Christ in Glory," attributed to Tagliaferri, a well-known and established painter from Valvarrone. Additionally, there is an inscription, unfortunately incomplete, attesting to the date and the patrons of this expansion. "TEMPLUM 19 (…) OLUS LABORE PECUNLA 1896=97 AMPLIAVIT=CONFRATRES CONSORES SS SACRAMENTI 190(0) ECORA (…)"
Among the figures of saints (including Saint Peter), there is the Pontiff of the time, Pope Leo XIII. The second triumphal arch with angels adoring the cross isfrom the same period; in addition to the elegant festoon of branches and leaves with fruits, there is the central finishing "in the form of a cloud" of the arch.