Monasteries all around the world have been built into the most precarious of locations - favorites are often in cliffs like the famous Taktsang Monastery in Nepal (that's impossibly perched on a sheer cliff) or the Fanjingshan temples of China (perched high on sheer vertical columns). Italy is no exception.

The Santuario Madonna della Corona (or Sanctuary of the Lady of the Crown in English) is perched around 2,000 feet or 774 meters above sea level into a vertical cliff face in the northern Italian Alps. The sanctuary is built on a thin rock shelf that one can only reach by a thin path from below or a street from above.

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History and Background Of The Santuario Madonna della Corona

There are some medieval documents that testify that hermits lived in the Baldo area already around the year 1000. Tradition has it that the shrine itself dates from 1522. Legend has it that the venerated shrine was miraculously transported through angelic intervention from the island of Rhodes after the island was invaded by the Muslim army of Suliman II.

  • Legends: There Are Legends About its Holy Shrine

The church was built in 1530 and it was originally a hermitage for holy men to remove themselves from the world and seek solitude and silent reflection. It soon attracted pilgrims and the main chapel was enlarged over the centuries.

While many of the famous monasteries in Italy have been destroyed in various wars over the centuries, Santuario Madonna della Corona has been spared the worse thanks to its relative inaccessibility. Even the famous and stunning Monte Cassino monastery in Italy was completely destroyed by American bombing in World War Two.

By the 1970s, much of Santuario Madonna della Corona's structures were worse for wear and were in a state of decay. Many were torn down and rebuilt with efforts being taken to retain as many important artistic flourishes as possible.

  • Guido Tisato: The Italian Architect Who Built The Existing Church in 1974

Related: Katskhi Pillar: Is It The Most Extreme Monastery In The World?

What To Expect At The Santuario Madonna della Corona

"This place is ideal for those who want to combine moments of prayer and inner peace to opportunities to relax and enjoy the silence of the shows that nature can offer in this lovely place."

Santuario Madonna della Corona Website

The sanctuary is located in the Italian Alps close to Austria (this region was once part of Austria around 100 years ago before the First World War). Its located in Spiazzi in one of the most picturesque locations in northern Italy. From its place in the cliff it overlooks the stunning valley of the Adige river.

  • Location: Spiazzi In The Italian Alps
  • Elevation: 2,000 feet or 774 meters Above Sea Level
  • Papal Visit: 17th April 1988 Pope John Paul II visited the Shrine And Prayed To The Lady of the Corona
  • Designation: In 1982 The Shrine Was Given The Title of "Basilica Minor"

Visiting Santuario Madonna della Corona

Today the church is still a popular pilgrimage site for visitors coming to see the stunning chapel and to pay homage at the Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Verona Crown. It is also popular with hikers to hike up to a church in the Alps seemingly hiding.

The Shrine is open all year long with opening times varying between summer and winter.

Opening Hours:

  • November to March: 8.00 am to 6.00 pm
  • April to October: 7.00 am to 7.30 pm

If one is planning to go there, remember that the Shrine of the Corona is a place of silence and meditation. The sanctuary has been described as being "extended between heaven and earth, hidden in the heart of the Baldo rocks."

Related: The Monastery Is One Of The Most Iconic In Italy (And It's More Impressive In Person)

Madonna della Corona Sanctuary Walking Tour

If one would like a guided tour of the Madonna della Corona Sanctuary in Spiazzi then there are some local guides listed on Tripadvisor.

This walking tour starts at the village of Spiazzi at around 10.15 am. Spiazzi is a stunning village on the border between Italy's stunning Caprino Veronese and Ferrara di Monte Baldo regions. On this tour, one will enjoy the stunning landscapes of the Italian Alps together with vineyards and foothills.

It takes around 20 minutes to walk up to the sanctuary where the tour guide will explain all about it. After visiting the Sanctuary, at around noon the tour goes to visit a typical “Azienda Agricola” (farmhouse) nearby. Enjoy lunch with a good glass of Italian wine overlooking a lake. At around 2.00 pm the walking tour heads back.

  • Duration: 4 Hours
  • Start and End Times: 10.15 am to Around 2.00 pm
  • Available languages: English, Italian
  • Includes: Lunch
  • Stop At: Santuario Basilica Madonna della Corona, Vicolo Santuario 1, 37020 Ferrara di Monte Baldo Italy
  • Cost: Around $150

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