Visiting the Sanctuary of Madonna Della Corona in Northern Italy.

Madonna della Corona Sanctuary in Northern Italy.

Madonna della Corona Sanctuary in Northern Italy.

About the Sanctuary of Madonna Della Corona in Italy.

A few years ago, while in Italy, I have visited the famous an very picturesquely located sanctuary of Madonna Della Corona in a little village of Spiazzi in Northern Italy. The sanctuary is attached to a the side of a solid rock east from Monte Baldo and it sits at the high of  774 meters above sea level. It is overlooking the surrounding mountains and beautiful valley of Adige river. It really looks impressive glued to the solid rock. It is certainly very popular with pilgrims and tourists – it is estimated that about 40,000 people visit this place each year.

The History of the Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona.

Approaching the sanctuary of Madonna della Corona in Spiazzi, in Northern Italy.

Approaching the sanctuary of Madonna della Corona in Spiazzi, in Northern Italy.

The history of this sanctuary dates back to around the year 1,000 when hermits from Verona lived in the Baldo area. Probably sometimes in the second half of 13th century a small monastery with a chapel dedicated to St. Mary of Montebaldo was build in the place where the current church is located. At this time it could be only reached by a dangerous and narrow path among the rocks.

A local legend says that in the year 1522 a sculpture of a Madonna della Corona has miraculously appeared there transported by angels from the island of Rhodes, when the island was invaded by Muslim army of Suliman II. This date is considered as the beginning of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Corona (Madonna della Corona).

The admired by pilgrims Sculpture of Madonna della Corona sanctuary.

The admired by pilgrims sculpture of Madonna della Corona.

There is also a possibility, that the sculpture of Madonna della Corona was actually created much later around the beginning of 19-th century. The figure of Pieta (Madonna lamenting Jesus’s death) is pretty small, only about 70 cm high, made of local stone and painted. It stands on a pedestal with the following words written on it in Latin: “HOC OPUS FECIT FIERI LODOVICUS D CASTROBARCO D 1432″, which is recognized as a proof that the statue was actually made and given to the sanctuary in 1432 by a nobleman Lodovico Castelbarco from the city of Rovereto.

So it seems that the origin of this considered as miraculous Pieta statue is not entirely clear, but I like the romantic story of the supernatural apparition of this Madonna sculpture the most.

Closer view on the Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona, Italy.

A closer view on the Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona, Italy.

Between (1490-1521) a bigger church measuring 18x7m was build in place of the original chapel. In the 15th century a wooden access bridge was also constructed (1458) making the shrine much more accessible to pilgrims. It seems that making the sanctuary easier to reach for people was very important since in the sixteenth century two sets of stone stairs leading to the church were also created, which exist till this day.

People climbing the stairs to the sanctuary of Madonna della Corona, Italy.

People climbing the stairs to the sanctuary of Madonna della Corona, Italy.

In about 100 years from the date of previous church modernization, the sanctuary was consider too small and in 1625 the work has began on building even a bigger church over the older one. The new sanctuary was build 4 meters (about 12 feet)  above the previous place of worship and the old church was incorporated under the presbyter. The construction of this new church was finally finished in 1685.

Over the centuries, the church went through further modernization and improvements and the last major construction was done between 1975 to 1978. One of the most important events for this church in modern times was the visit of Pope John Paul II on April 17th, 1988.

My Impressions About the Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona.

Inside the sanctuary of Madonna della Corona.

Inside the sanctuary of Madonna della Corona along the hallway there are thousands of photographs of people along the walls, as well as many votive figurines and some paintings.

I think the Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona is really worth visiting, especially if you are already in Lake Garda area. This beautiful, uniquely located church has a rich history and surrounding it legends. Once inside this place of devotion, you can see how important it was, and still is, for many people. As the way of their appreciation for this sanctuary, and perhaps miracles they have received, many people have left, or maybe sent here, their pictures, which are particularly visible inside a long hallway. It is also a form of prayer to have a picture of yourself in this considered so miraculous place.

Thousands of small photographs are arranged on boards attached to the walls creating multinational and historic mosaics. Many of the pictures seem to be telling stories of time past long ago, other bring to mind more contemporary events. Along with the photographs, you will find here many devetionalia, including probably hundreds of small figurines, mostly depicting Madonna by herself or with Jesus.

Apart from being an important place of pilgrimage, the church is certainly quite impressive architectural achievement. It  was initially build in a very hard to reach location and on the side of a solid rock. During its construction some materials have to be lowered on ropes from above the rock. I can only imagine how laborious, time consuming and dangerous it was. The location of the church has also contributed to its unique design since side of the rock was incorporated into the structure of the building. Till this day part of the walls are still a solid rock to which the church is attached.

The sanctuary seems to have meditative atmosphere, which is accentuated by beautiful surrounding, not too overpowering decor,  and dim light inside the church.  Many people praying and lighting votive candles add to the religious aura.

As I have already mentioned, the church is also worth visiting because of its beautiful surroundings. There are several ways in which you can reach this place and either way you go, you can admire many beautiful views of the nearby mountains, alpine forest and meadows. If you go to Spiazzi and ascend along a walkway from there, you will be also able to see an interesting interpretation of the Way of the Cross, which I tell you more about below.

A collection of Madonna figurines in the sanctuary of Madonna della Corona.

Madonna figurines from the collections in the hallway of the sanctuary of Madonna della Corona.

How to Get to the Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona.

Walking from the village of Spiazzi.

I think one of the best ways to get there is just to take a walk down from the small village of Spiazzi along the very picturesque path with view on the nearby mountains. That’s how I have reached the sanctuary in about 20 minutes walk. It is a pretty easy, fast way to arrive this place comparing to taking the long path and many stairs from Brentino. As an added bonus you will see along the road many about life-size bronze cast sculptures by the Veronese architect Raffaele Bonente. They are depicting the Stations of the Cross – from the condemnation of Jesus Christ by Pilate to his resurrection.

I think the proportions of this figures are somehow off since they seem to have too short legs comparing to the rest of the body, but they are still worth seeing. I like how realistic they look with very expressive faces and dynamic movements. I also like the fact that they are placed in this beautiful, natural settings.

When you start descending towards the sanctuary, you will first see the condemnation of Jesus by Pilate and the last scene of the Way of Cross is close to the sanctuary.

The Way of the Cross from Spiazzi village to the Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona. Here is the first station you will see on the way - Jesus is condemned by Pilate.

The Way of the Cross from Spiazzi village to the Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona. Here is the first station you will see on the way – Jesus is condemned by Pilate.

 

Jesus meets his mother.

Jesus meets his mother.

The village of Spiazzi itself is a nice place to visit and is located a few kilometers drive from amazing Lake Garda in Norther Italy. I have written another article about visiting Spiazzi on my other blog and you can read it here.  You might also like to check my short article about Lake Garda and the area.

How to Get to Spiazzi by Car or Public Transportation.

If you are driving here are the direction to get to Spiazzi:
From the A4 Milan-Venice, take exit Peschiera del Garda and continue driving towards Spiazzi (km 38); or from the A22 Brennero-Modena, take exit at Affi, in direction to Spiazzi  (20 km).

St. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

St. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

You can also reach Spiazzi by public transportation. If you take  a train, get off at the station of Peschiera del Garda or Verona Porta Nuova and then take a bus, line Spiazzi Caprino.

Angel beside the tomb of Jesus Christ.

Angel beside the tomb of Jesus Christ.

Other More Difficult Way to Reach the Sanctuary from Brentino Beluno via “Il Sentioro della Speranza”.

You can also try more difficult and ambitious way of reaching the sanctuary via the path called “Il Sentiero della Speranza” (this name could be roughly translated as “Path of Hope”). You will walk along a winding path through the mountains and on some pretty steep stairs from Brentino Beluno. Along this way, you will go about 2,425 meters (about 2,5 km). It is circa 2 hours walk and the altitude difference is around 600 meters.  This path is very popular with pilgrims and many tourist. I have never tried it yet, so I can not tell you how difficult it is to reach the sanctuary via this way, but I think if you are in good physical condition and not afraid of steep stairs this walk seems like worth giving it a try. You will certainly have some beautiful views on the way.  If you are interested in waling this way, you can see some videos from this trail and listen to Italian speaking guide here.

Contact Information and the Opening Hours for the Sanctuary of Madonna Dellla Corona.

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Address: Santuario Madonna della Corona, I – 37010 Spiazzi/ Ferrara di Monte Baldo

Tel. :(+39) 045 7220014 .

A view from the terrace beside the sanctuary of the Madonna della Corona onto the surrounding mountains.

A view from the terrace beside the sanctuary of the Madonna della Corona onto the surrounding mountains.

The sanctuary is open all year long  and at the time when I am writing this article, the hours are as follows:
November to March: from 8 to 18
April to October: from 7 to 19.30

The Copyright Info.

This article and all photographs in this blog post are copyrighted by me, Renata Ratajczyk. If you would like to use any of them in your publications or on your website, please contact me. I will be adding most of the pictures from this article and many more images from Italy to my Light Vision website, where you can license images or buy them as prints. I hope you have enjoyed reading this article and seeing my photographs from this amazingly beautiful part of of Italy.  I will be posting more articles soon, so please remember to subscribe to my blog to be notified about future updates. Thank you.

You May Also Like to Read:

  1. Visiting Lake Garda, Italy.
  2. Gardens of Versailles, France.
  3. Gadens of Spiazzi village – an article on my Vibrant Garden blog.
  4. Giardino Sigurtà” in Northern Italy – on my Vibrant Garden blog.
  5. Niagara Parks Botanical Garden – on my Vibrant Garden blog.

 

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