Italy: The amazing Santuario Madonna della Corona church is built into the side of a cliff


Pictured: The amazing Italian church built on the side of a mountain 2,500ft up… that almost looks like it’s suspended in mid-air

  • Santuario Madonna della Corona is built on a shelf of rock on Mount Baldo above the valley of the River Adige
  • The stunning location has been used as a place for quiet contemplation and prayer for the past 1,000 years 
  • In 1982, it was declared a ‘minor basilica’ of Italy and in 1988, Pope John Paul II paid a visit to the church  

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Just heavenly. 

This amazing Italian church sits 2,539ft (774 metres) above sea level and is built into the side of a cliff.

And as these pictures show, it almost looks like it is suspended in mid-air – the Avatar of chapels.

The Santuario Madonna della Corona (or Sanctuary of the Lady of the Crown), which is built into the side of Mount Baldo

It is a popular place for pilgrims who are drawn to the church by its stunning views and the art it has on display

 It is a popular place for pilgrims who are drawn to the church by its stunning views and the art it has on display

The beautiful church is perched on a thin shelf of cliffside rock that is 2,539ft (774 metres) above sea level

The beautiful church is perched on a thin shelf of cliffside rock that is 2,539ft (774 metres) above sea level

Called the Santuario Madonna della Corona (or Sanctuary of the Lady of the Crown), it is built on a thin shelf of rock on Mount Baldo above the valley of the River Adige, close to Lake Garda. 

It is a popular place for pilgrims who are drawn in by its stunning views, sculptures and replica of the Scala Santa – the stairs that Jesus is said to have walked up in Pilate’s palace before his crucifixion.

The history of Santuario Madonna della Corona dates back over 1,000 years, the site originally being a hermitage where monks linked to the Abbey of St Zeno in Verona would travel to for silent contemplation.

According to the church’s website, by the second half of the 13th century, there was a monastery on the site with a chapel dedicated to St Mary of Montebaldo.

The site of the church was originally a hermitage, where monks linked to the Abbey of St Zeno in Verona would gather for silent contemplation

The site of the church was originally a hermitage, where monks linked to the Abbey of St Zeno in Verona would gather for silent contemplation

The church's current Gothic facade was added to the building in 1899. It has undergone many renovations and restorations

The church’s current Gothic facade was added to the building in 1899. It has undergone many renovations and restorations 

The church's website explains: 'This place is ideal for those who want to combine moments of prayer and inner peace with opportunities to relax and enjoy the silence that nature can offer in this lovely place'

The church’s website explains: ‘This place is ideal for those who want to combine moments of prayer and inner peace with opportunities to relax and enjoy the silence that nature can offer in this lovely place’

Inside the Santuario Madonna della Corona.  In 1982, it was declared a 'minor basilica' of Italy and Pope John Paul II paid a visit to it in 1988

Inside the Santuario Madonna della Corona.  In 1982, it was declared a ‘minor basilica’ of Italy and Pope John Paul II paid a visit to it in 1988

But it wasn’t until 1530 that the earliest structure of the existing church was inaugurated – although worshippers had to navigate a tiny cliffside passage to reach it. Two sets of access steps were later built, including a bridge so visitors no longer had to cross the river.

In 1625 an even bigger church was built 13ft above the existing building and in 1899 the current Gothic facade was added.

The church complex survived into the 20th century and in the 1970s it underwent a complete restoration.

Pilgrims can reach the church by hiking for two hours up a path that starts in the nearby town of Brentino

Pilgrims can reach the church by hiking for two hours up a path that starts in the nearby town of Brentino

In 1982, it was declared a ‘minor basilica’ of Italy and Pope John Paul II paid a visit to it in 1988.

Today, pilgrims can reach Santuario Madonna della Corona by either following a two-hour hiking path from the town of Brentino or they can drive to the town of Spiazzi and walk up the one-kilometre road to the church. The road features 14 bronze statues representing the Stations of the Cross. There is also a shuttle bus that runs to the church from Spiazzi on the same road.

The church’s website explains: ‘This place is ideal for those who want to combine moments of prayer and inner peace with opportunities to relax and enjoy the silence that nature can offer in this lovely place.’

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