Santuario di Nostra Signora di Montenero, Cinque Terre
Church in Riomaggiore
The Santuario di Nostra Signora di Montenero is a Catholic place of worship situated in the locality of Montenero within the municipality of Riomaggiore, in the province of La Spezia. Perched 340 meters above sea level, the sanctuary can only be accessed via a mule track from the provincial road 370.
Together with the sanctuary of Our Lady of Health in Volastra, the sanctuaries of Our Lady of Grace and Our Lady of Reggio in Vernazza, and the sanctuary of Our Lady of Soviore in Monterosso al Mare, it is part of the “Sanctuaries of the Cinque Terre.” While the earliest documented references to the sanctuary date back to 1335, popular sources suggest the existence of an ancient place of worship as early as the eighth century. Legend holds that the inhabitants of Riomaggiore built the sanctuary after a Marian vision in 790, involving a young Maria del Paladino.
The site underwent significant renovations and expansions in 1740 and again in 1847, leading to modifications of its original structure. Currently, the sanctuary features a division with three naves.
The initial venerated icon at the sanctuary was believed to be of Byzantine origin (known as Madonna di San Luca). According to tradition, it was hidden in a secret location to safeguard it from the Lombards’ conquest. However, the original icon was lost during the 15th century and subsequently replaced with an image depicting the assumption of Mary with the apostles. This picture, restored in 1947, is carried in a procession on Whit Monday.
Inside the sanctuary, there is an 18th-century fresco created by the painter Battaglia di Castelnuovo Magra.
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