The sacred mounts on the Alps


‘Culminating with a sanctuary placed on top of a relatively low mountain, but clearly visible at a distance from the valley or plain underneath, the “Sacred Mounts” are a sequence of huge chapels, depicting episodes from the New Testament or the life of a particular saint; the scenes are mainly created with life-size statues. Pilgrims and passers-by can admire the scenes through some windows placed around the chapels. All the chapels are closed to the public and can only be accessed for maintenance reasons; they are all connected by a reserved access path, normally just for pedestrians, which is also used for processions and pilgrimage and adoration itineraries (for instance, the Sacred Mount in Varese is laid out in such a way that makes it possible to walk and recite the Rosary at the same time). The Sacred Mounts were born in 1490, before the Reformation, in the alpine part of the State of Milan, stretching from the valley of Valsesia (in the province of Vercelli) and the present province of Lecco. The first mount was the one in Varallo. At a later date the Sacred Mounts became part of the pastoral programme of Saint Charles Borromeo, the great promoter of the Counter-Reformation in Northern Italy. In the space of two centuries, around ten Sacred Mounts were built, forming a wide semicircle along the Northern border of the State of Milan: their aim was the spiritual protection against the influx of the Reformation. Nowadays the Sacred Mounts are both places of a still lively pilgrimage, and also a great and interesting witness of the sacred art of their time. The exhibition, put together following a project by Santino Langè and images by Pepi Merisio, illustrates this phenomenon of faith and art.’


21 Agosto 1982 - 29 Agosto 1982


Exhibitions Meeting Exhibitions