What to see in Oropa, itinerary including the main places of interest, including the Sanctuary of the Black Madonna, the Old Church, the chapels on the hill and the monumental Cemetery with the tomb of Quintino Sella.
Located in the province of Biella, Oropa is a skiing and resort town in the Biella Pre-Alps, famous above all thanks to one of the largest Marian shrines in Italy, whose foundation is traditionally attributed to Sant'Eusebio, which in this place surrounded by greenery would have placed a statue of the Madonna carved, according to legend, by San Luca.
The first documents relating to a chapel dedicated to the Madonna date back to the thirteenth century, or the period when the Sanctuary of the Madonna d’Oropa quickly became a pilgrimage center.
In the early 1600s a new church was erected, around which various chapels and buildings connected to the Sanctuary were subsequently built.
The grandiose complex includes squares, arcades and Baroque buildings, used largely as a shelter for the sick.
Among the arcaded buildings there is the Old Church, which contains the primitive chapel of Sant 'Eusebio, where the wooden statue of the Black Madonna of Oropa is preserved, embellished with gold and precious stones.
Fourteenth-century frescoes, depicting scenes from the Life of the Virgin Mary, are the outline.
In the naves there are further frescoes and paintings, among which the Last Supper by Lanino stands out, located in the last chapel on the right.
In the adjacent rooms there are the treasure, consisting of precious sacred furnishings, and the museum, which exhibits, among other things, a Holy Family of Ferrari.
Behind the older buildings is the New Church, built between 1877 and 1960 on an eighteenth-century design by Galletti.
This cult building, preceded by a pronaos, has an interior divided into two areas, one with an octagonal shape with a dome and the other with a central plan.Recommended readings
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On the hill, located west of the Sanctuary, there are twelve chapels dedicated to scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary, inside which there are elaborate terracotta representations.
Around the sanctuary there are seven other chapels, while in a small valley there is a small monumental cemetery, containing, among others, the tomb of Quintino Sella.