Sacred mountains of Piedmont and Lombardy: what to see


Which and how many are the sacred mountains of Piedmont and Lombardy, an itinerary to visit the geographical area that includes them, among natural landscapes, churches and artistic beauties scattered throughout the territory.

Tourist information

The Sacred Mountains of Piedmont and Lombardy have been registered by UNESCO on the World Heritage List. The Sacri Monti of Piedmont are seven and precisely Belmonte, Crea, Domodossola, Ghiffa, Oropa, Orta and Varallo.

The Sacri Monti of Lombardy are Ossuccio and Varese.

These are religious monumental complexes erected between the 16th and 17th centuries, which stand out for their artistic, historical and naturalistic beauty.

They are chapels and churches that through the representation through images, through frescoes, statues and paintings show various episodes and mysteries of sacred life and offer different paths of meditation and prayer, to be lived in a privileged natural environment, characterized by pleasant and relaxing landscapes.

Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy were born at the end of the fifteenth century as places of prayer to replace the pilgrimage to the Holy Land, which at that time became not too safe.

Subsequently, in the period of the Counter-Reformation, second half of the 16th century, the Sacred Mountains of Piedmont and Lombardy became an effective means of keeping the Catholic faith alive and of countering Protestantism since they offered, through images, a simple and religious pedagogical-religious itinerary accessible to all.

What see

The Sacro Monte di Belmonte is located above the town of Valperga, about 700 meters above sea level in the Canavese area, in the province of Turin. The complex includes a sanctuary and 13 chapels dedicated to the Passion of Christ which wind along a circular path immersed in a forest of ancient trees.

The Sacro Monte di Crea it is located on a hill in Monferrato at about 450 meters above sea level, in the province of Alessandria. The complex is made up of 23 chapels and 5 hermitages located along the path that leads to the Marian Shrine from where a long path leads through the woods to the Paradise chapel, located at the top of the hill. The chapels, excluding the first two dedicated to Sant 'Eusebio, are inspired by the mysteries of the Rosary.

The Sacred Mount Calvary, whose devotional path develops from the inhabited center of Domodossola to the hill of Mattarella, is made up of 15 chapels dedicated to the Passion of Christ. At the top of the hill stands the Sanctuary of the Holy Cross.

The Sacred Mount of the Holy Trinity di Ghiffa stands on the Piedmontese shore of Lake Maggiore, at the foot of Monte Carciago in a beautiful panoramic position, surrounded by a protected area characterized by extensive wooded areas. The complex is formed by the church of the Sanctuary, on whose square the portico of the Via Crucis is located, and by three chapels dedicated to the Coronation of Mary, the Baptism of Jesus and Abraham.

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The Sacro Monte di Oropa it is located approx. 1,200 meters above sea level, near Biella, and consists of twelve chapels dedicated to the life of the Virgin Mary. Close to the chapels is the grandiose shrine complex, considered the largest Marian place of worship in the Alps, consisting of the Ancient Basilica, the New Church, and a set of monumental buildings and cloisters.

The Sacro Monte di Orta it is located on a hill that rises in the center of the Orta-San Giulio peninsula, on the western shore of Lake Orta. It consists of 20 chapels, in various architectural styles, which blend harmoniously with the surrounding landscape. The chapels are all dedicated to San Francesco and are located along a spiral path that ends with the church of San Nicolao, a proto-Romanesque construction reworked in the seventeenth century as a copy of the Lower Basilica of Assisi.

The Sacro Monte di Varallo, located in Valsesia on a rocky outcrop above the town of Varallo at 600 m a.s.l., it is the oldest and most artistically important Sacro Monte in the Alps. It consists of the Basilica dedicated to Maria Assunta and 45 chapels with frescoes and statues representing scenes from the life of Jesus and Mary. The area in which the monumental complex is located is part of the Sacro Monte di Varallo special nature reserve.

The Sacro Monte di Ossuccio it is located on the western shore of Lake Como, on a slope at 419 meters above sea level, behind the town of the same name facing the Comacina island. The complex, consisting of 14 Baroque-style chapels dedicated to the Mysteries of the Rosary, winds along a path that leads to the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Soccorso, where the fifteenth mystery is depicted. The place, characterized by meadows, olive groves and woods, offers a magnificent panorama of the lake and the surrounding landscape.

The Sacro Monte di Varese it winds along the slopes of Monte Velate at 883 m above sea level, above Varese, in a magnificent panoramic position. It consists of 14 chapels dedicated to the Mysteries of the Rosary, which along a cobbled path about 2 kilometers long, lead to the Sanctuary of Santa Maria del Monte, where the fifteenth mystery is represented.

All the Sacred Mountains of Piedmont and Lombardy are considered magnificent examples of architecture in perfect harmony with the surrounding landscape, a perfect meeting point between religious pilgrims and art history enthusiasts.

They were subsequently inspired by other similar landscape religious models scattered throughout much of Catholic Europe.

Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy - Italy Tourist Guide (September 2022)

Tags: Piedmont