Sacro Monte di Varese

Sacro Monte di Varese, description of the Holy Path

The Sacro Monte of Varese is considered one of the most fascinating itineraries Marian in the world, so to be recognized by UNESCO in 2003 as a World Heritage Site.

The complex includes : the Church of the Immaculate Conception , the Via Sacra, the Sanctuary of Santa Maria del Monte, the Shrine of the Rosary, the Fountain of Moses and the Museum Baroffio .
The trail is about 2 km long slope , but with a beautiful view of the Alps and the lakes and the valleys below, and leads to the medieval shrine of Santa Maria del Monte.
It is a well structured and uniform way throughout the project that invites devotees to pray to the Virgin Mary, with the Rosary , making pause, for meditation of the Mysteries, in the 14 chapels, to finally reach the Sanctuary, at the top of the hill .

The Mysteries are fifteen and consist of the most significant events in the life of Jesus and Mary. They are divided into 3 groups: the Joyful Mysteries, for example the Annunciation and Christmas , the Sorrowful Mysteries, including the Crown of Thorns and the Crucifixion , and finally the Glorious Mysteries culminating with the Coronation Mary .[adsensebanner]

The arrival to Shrine coincides with the celebration of the Coronation of the Virgin: in the Shrine  there is a wooden statue, the Black Madonna , an object of worship since medieval times. According to the tradition, the Shrine was founded by S. Ambrose in memory of the victory over Arian heresy, so the statue dates back to this period.Catholics , ideally, should then walk reciting ten Hail Mary , stop at a chapel to meditate on the mystery associated with it, and then getting back on track again, reciting other ten Hail Mary .

The Holy Path  (1604-1680 approximately) includes the pavement , the Arches and the chapels , and it was made from an overall project of the Capuchin Father John Baptist Aguggiari and architect Giuseppe Bernascone . To them , the merit of calling famous artists to decorate inside and outside the chapels with frescoes, statues and paintings: among others, Bussola, Prestinari, Silva, Nuvolone, Morazzone. The project’s leaders Aguggiari, Bernascone and Dralli had the merit of good project management from the financial point of view : all expenses , thanks to a diligent fund raising activities , were in fact incurred by the common people , with offerings and donations of various kinds.

At Sacro Monte di Varese, you can also visit the Museum Baroffio , recently restored , which houses the collection of the Sanctuary and those of Baron Baroffio Dall’Aglio , which includes ancient and modern objects of religious art.

Visit time: 2 h
Difficulty with disabilities: High
Admission: Free
Opening hours of the Sanctuary of Santa Maria del Monte. h. 8- 12 am; 2-6 pm


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