The project San Carlo is born in Cremona from a desire to create an open dialogue between contemporary art, the territory and the local community.

The project is meant to serve as an opportunity for the exchange, research, promotion and exhibition of contemporary artists, established on the national and international art scene, with the aim of implementing activities dedicated to art.

The project has been launched to promote contemporary art, understood as a language to investigate changes in society; as a tool of dialogue and a means to stimulate the participation of different types of public and activate environments conducive to innovation and change. The deconsecrated church of San Carlo, a site in the historical memory of the city and of the community, for many years abandoned, looted and eventually closed to the public, reopens to host the project San Carlo.

The church of San Carlo rises in the XVII-century by the transformation of the previous church of San Donnino (1032 the date of construction). San Donnino was first associated with the figure of Carlo Borromeo in 1575, when the Archbishop of Milano Carlo Borromeo went to the church as stage of his apostolic journey to the diocese of Cremona. Borromeo decided to grant 100 lire in order not to demolish the church, at risk given the conditions at the time. On the 1st of November 1610 Pope Paul V celebrates the canonization of Borromeo in Rome. The news is received with great joy in Cremona and in all the churches are displayed portraits of the new Saint. In the church of San Donnino three relics of the new Saint are exhibited, the only ones present in Cremona. The relics attract a large number of devotees and numerous offerings that are invested in the renovation of the building, which is expanded, modernized and its title is changed in San Donnino and San Carlo.

In November 1733 the Franco-Piedmontese troops regain control of Cremona, lost in 1707 by the Austrians, and immediately the church is seized and used as a military depot. With the return of the Austrians in 1736 the church resumes its sacredness and experiences a period of prosperity. In September 1788 the reduction of the number of urban parishes imposed bu the Austrian Emperor is implements and San Carlo looses its destination as a religious space and is deconsecrated. In May 1796 a French cavalry occupies Cremona, thus begins the French domination characterized, among many things, also by the requisition of convents, palaces and churches and the confiscation of works of art reclassified then as French national goods and sent to Paris.

The person in charge of the Fine Arts of Cremona is the marquis Giuseppe Picenardi who removes from San Carlo the wooden altarpiece built in 1643 by Francesco Pescaroli and moves it to the family villa in Torre de’ Picenardi and then to the parish church of the villa. In November 1798 San Carlo is closed and transformed into a storage for boats, damaging the altars and the treasure preserved inside. In March 1799 with the defeat of the French by the Austrians, San Carlo is re-opened and returns to be officiated. It remains like this until 1859 when, during the Second War of Independence between Piedmont and Austria, it is requisitioned and transformed into a military accommodation for the Austrians. With the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy on March 17th, 1861, Cremona becomes Italian. For San Carlo, however, nothing changes: still closed, still requisitioned, from lodging of soldiers is turned into fodder warehouse until mid-1862, when it is reopened and resumes its activity until 1915.
In 1915, the entry of Italy into the First World War leads to suspension of worship and the closure of the sanctuary, which is used as a military warehouse. The end of the conflict marks for the church the beginning of the third tranche of its long history, the most tormente, the most difficult to summarize. Between 1923 and 1925 it is rented to the Red Cross that uses it as a warehouse for the conservation of hospital material; from 1941 to 1946 it is rented to the nuns who transform it into a gym for their school; between 1946 and 1947 it is used as a wood warehouse; between 1947 and 1948 it is used as a storage by the Provincial Federation of Cooperation of Cremona; in 1962 it becomes a warehouse for telephone poles and in the ‘80s it is given to the Caritas to make it a warehouse. The church of San Carlo, site in the historical memory of the community, has experiences, in it most recent history, an openness to the contemporary.

SAN CARLO CREMONA is supported by Lorenzo Spinelli and FORM. THE CREATIVE GROUP.
FORM.THE CREATIVE GROUP chooses art and culture to look to the future.

Since 2021 FORM, THE CREATIVE GROUP has revived the deconsecrated church of San Carlo, a XVII century site, rich in history and charm, obtaining an experimental space for artists and beauty lovers. The company, specialized in exhibitions and communication, has always been attracted by human ideas, shaped in its daily work, and finds affinities with those disciplines, independent of each other, such as art, cinema and music. The coexistence of these languages gave rise to an opportunity for resonance, contamination and an unpredictable source of inspiration.