The Sacro Monte of Varese is part of the group of nine Sacred Mountains of the Alps of Piedmont and Lombardy. In 2003, it was named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has been a place of pilgrimage since the Middle Age. At Sacromonte, guests can take a picturesque walk along a cobble path of approximately two miles. They can admire the fourteen chapels dedicated to the Mysteries of the Rosary as they walk along the path. At the end of the path is the Sanctuary of Santa Maria del Monte, a place rich in history and surrounded by a beautiful natural landscape.
THE SACRO MONTE OF VARESE
In the XI century, at Sacro Monte there was a small Romanesque sanctuary, that the faithful came to visit from everywhere, even from Milan and the Canton Ticino. A village was slowly built around the sanctuary in order to receive priests and laypeople, who ran shelters for the pilgrims.
The sanctuary had such a great influx of pilgrims over the years that, in 1472, it was rebuilt and enlarged by the architect Bartolomeo Gadio. Two years after the birth of the Order of Romite Ambrosiane, Pope Sisto IV granted the license to erect a monastery.
In the seventeenth century, Sister Maria Tecla Cid, one of the monastery Romites conceived the idea of the path dedicated to the Mysteries of the Rosary. The idea turned into a reality with the great cooperation of the Capuchin Father John Baptist Aguggiari. Architect Joseph Bernascone was committed to the task of overseeing the architecture of the chapels and the path along the slopes of the mountain. He made this opera the greatest work of his life, devoting great effort and energy to the design of the entire venue.
The construction was already completed in 1698. Thanks to the extraordinary competence of Bernascone, the great organizational skills of Father Aguggiari and donations, we can still admire the path, full of cultural and religious meaning, that leads visitors along the slopes of the mountain to the Sanctuary.