The Church of S. Maria degli Angeli was built, together with the Convent, between 1470 and 1474 in a traditional late Gothic form, typical of the Pallavicino state, with polygonal apses in imitation of the Parish Church.
It was erected by the sons of Orlando Pallavicino the Magnificent, or Giovanni Lodovico Pallavicino and Pallavicino Pallavicino.
The year following the end of the work the Observant Friars took possession of it and in 1480 a Provincial Chapter of the Order was already held there.
The Church preserves intact the austere gothic forms, characteristic of many religious constructions in the Emilian and Lombard areas, with points of close contact with other works by Pallavicino in the same Busseto, Cortemaggiore and Zibello.
The main entrance boasts beautiful terracottas with drawings of braided cords, well-knotted sheets of leaves and putti with bunches of grapes, made to mold presumably at Polesine in the kiln of Jacopo de 'Stavolis, on models by Rainaldo. Above the portal, a beautiful fresco depicting the Assumption of the Virgin in heaven, between three Angels and Saints Bernardino da Siena and Antonio da Padova. It was repainted in March 1952 by the painter Mario Schiavi of Cremona.
As soon as you enter the church, the wooden statue of Padre Pio da Pietralcina appears on the left, a recent work (2 May 1999) by the local artist Giancarlo Pizzelli. At the entrance to the main nave there are two beautiful stacks for the Holy Water in marble, dating back to the end of the 17th century.
On the left aisle there are four communicating chapels, all decorated with elegant capitals and niches. These are the chapels of (1) of St. Anthony of Padua, (2) of St. Rita of Cascia, (3) of the Immaculate Virgin and (4) of St. Francis. The last two chapels were prepared as early as 1478, while the first two were completed in 1484. In the first chapel, originally a tomb of the Pallavicino family, there is the fresco of the Madonna del Canale, a very valuable work from the 15th century attributed to one of Francesco's disciples. Squarcione. Originally this fresco showed off in the Oratory or Chapel of the same name located on the side, externally, to the same Church and demolished in 1906.
At the end of the fourth Chapel, appears the superb polychrome terracotta group of the Compianto sul Cristo Morto, realized by Guido Mazzoni with extraordinary psychological introspection (circa 1476-77). In the two male figures on their knees, popular tradition recounts the portraits of the brothers Giovanni Lodovico and Pallavicino Pallavicino, Marquis of Busseto at the time and founders of the Convent. At the head of the cave there is a high relief stucco with Angeli Dolenti and Stemma Marziani, estimated around the middle of the 18th century.
Alongside the Compianto by Guido Mazzoni there is a marble monument sculpted by the Franciscan Fr. Ireneo Affò, Bussetano, who died in 1797, one of the most illustrious scholars of his century and a famous historian of the City of Parma.
At the end of the left aisle there is the last Chapel, that of the Santissimo Sacramento, which has been affected by innumerable transformations over the years and finally inaugurated in 1902.
At the end of the central aisle appears the High Altar , built ex-novo, together with the vast presbytery in the year 1926, in memory of the VII Centenary of the transit of St. Francis. Behind the High Altar, above the Chorus and the Organ, one notices the great Crucifix created by the artist Lorenzo Ceregato.
In the triumphal arch, two Angels dominate coat of arms made in stucco, suitable to support the great coat of arms of the Franciscan Order.In the aisle on the right is the Madonna with the Child and S. Pasquale Baylon by Clemente Ruta (1732). This painting represents S. Pasquale Baylon in the act of recommending the City of Busseto to the Blessed Virgin; S. Pasquale Baylon, in fact, is one of the patron saints of the City of Busseto.
Next to it is Christ fallen under the Cross and the Veronica, a fragmentary fresco by Nicolò Dell'Abate dating back to 1543-1544. The 14 stations of the Via Crucis, built in June 1932, are conveniently located inside the Church. All the stations are in white marble and the reliefs have been made by a good hand.
Close to the right aisle there is an internal Chapel of St. Caterina, today used for the weekday liturgy celebrations. Inside you can admire a delicate plastering and frescoes with Saints and Franciscan Characters by Pietro Rubini (the two ovals on the sides of the altar) and the May.
Adjacent to the Chapel of St. Catherine there is the Sacristy, which currently houses the wonderful painting of the Madonna with the Child by Antonio Campi, around 1580.
Passing from the Church to the Monastery you cross the Cloister, dating for the most part to the origins of the Convent. It was the subject of extensions up to 800. Very beautiful is its loggia, recently restored, dated 1924. In the refectory there is a large canvas depicting the Last Supper, attributed to Michelangelo Anselmi and dating back to 1538-1540.
The upper floor of the complex was, at the time of the Convent, reserved for the space for the Clausura. Even today it is possible to admire these places, in the traditional Franciscan simplicity; the corridor of access to the cells with the singular large walled clock is very particular. The library, important for the preserved works and manuscripts, still possesses some precious volumes from the 17th century onwards. A few years ago here were the letter heads of the ten important illuminated corals by Francesco da Castello, dating back to about 1474.
Finally, we remember the Oratory of the Red Madonna, or rather the graceful Chapel on the corner of the vegetable garden, near the square of the Railway Station and whose custody, in ancient times, was reserved for the Seminarians of Busseto.