Situated on the outskirts of Este, the Romanesque church known as the Madonna del Pilastro has its origins in the early 16th century. The church was served by the Servite Fathers, who also established a small monastery close to the church and remained there until 1656.
The present church almost completely preserves its original structure. The building consists of a nave and a presbytery, surmounted by a hemispheric dome. Over the centuries, the church underwent some reconstruction, with the sacristy being enlarged at the end of the 16th century and two side small chapels being added in the 18th century. The gabled façade has two windows that were probably added between the 18th and 19th centuries. The present campanile was erected in the last decade of the 16th century or in the early 17th century.
Ancient and simple in design, the church’s interior has a sense of peace and serenity. It still preserves the original trussed wooden ceiling, which was restored in 1990. The nave of the church is adorned with two statues dedicated to San Filippo Benizi, promoter and general minister of the Servite Order, and to Sant’Antonio Abate. Both statues were carefully restored to their former glory in 1995.
This serene and simple Romanesque church preserves a precious treasure in the form of the ancient frescoed image of the Virgin and Child, painted by unknown artist in the second half of the 15th century. Seriously damaged over the centuries, the painting was restored to its original condition in 1993 by Professor Antonio Lazzarin from Padua.
Close to the high altar there are two small chapels with altars dedicated to the Madonna Addolorata (Our Lady of Sorrows) and an altar of the Blessed Virgin and San Marco.
Today, the Madonna del Pilastro is a parish church of the Pilastro quarter and is a quiet place for solitude.