Sacro Monte

The Sacromonte of Varese

The Sacromonte of Varese is part of the group of nine Pre-Alpine Sacred Mountains of Piedmont and Lombardy included in 2003 by UNESCO in the World Heritage List. A place of pilgrimage since the Middle Ages, it offers an evocative walk along a cobbled path of about two kilometers during which one can admire the fourteen chapels dedicated to the Mysteries of the Rosary, finally arriving at the Sanctuary of Santa Maria del Monte, a place rich in history and immersed in a splendid natural landscape.

In the 11th century, there was a small Romanesque shrine at Sacro Monte, a destination for the faithful who came from all over, even from Milan and Canton Ticino. Around the shrine was gradually built a suburb suitable to accommodate priests, and lay people who ran shelters for pilgrims.

Over time the shrine saw an increasing influx of pilgrims, so much so that in 1472, based on the design of architect Bartolomeo Gadio the shrine was rebuilt and enlarged. The Order of the Romite Ambrosiane was also born, which only two years later was granted by Pope Sixtus IV to erect a monastery.

In the 17th century, Sister Maria Tecla Cid, one of the hermits of the monastery conceived the idea of the path dedicated to the Mysteries of the Rosary. Finding great cooperation from the Capuchin Father Giovanni Battista Aguggiari, the undertaking became feasible. To carry out the architecture of the chapels and the path along the slopes of the mountain, the architect Giuseppe Bernascone was commissioned. He made this undertaking the greatest work of his life, devoting great commitment and energy to the design of the entire devotional complex.

Already in 1698 the realization was completed. Thanks to Bernascone's extraordinary competence, Father Aguggiari's great organizational skills and donations, we can still admire that path steeped in cultural and religious significance that accompanies visitors along the slopes of the mountain to the Shrine.