The Sacro Monte of Varallo
On the rocky spur overlooking the town of Varallo at the end of the fifteenth century, the Franciscan friar Bernardino Caimi dreamed of building a small Holy Land reproducing the main landmarks of Jerusalem linked to the life of Christ and reminding through them, starting from the year 1486, with simple images, paintings or statues, the events that occurred there.
From the early sixteenth century, thanks to the work of Gaudenzio Ferrari, artist and sculptor, the scenes were populated with three-dimensional statues, life-size and decorated with colorful clothes, beards and hair and natural expressions to involve the believer in the sacred drama.
During the Counter-Reformation, the Sacred Mount was reorganized to become a great way to provide illustrated religious teachings thanks to life-size paintings and statues, checked in content by the bishop of the diocese, but aimed at telling the story of Christ in a realistic and credible way, like many snapshots of real life, by quality artists such as the Fiammenghini, Morazzone, Tanzio da Varallo and Giovanni d'Enrico, Gianoli, Dionigi Bussola and Giovanni Battista Bernero.
The Sacred Mount is also a park-garden, like a great rural Way of the Cross that climbs up the hill, but at the same time it has the appearance of an ancient fortified city built on a rocky hill, with its walls, the monumental entrance door, the two squares, the civil and religious ones resembling those of Jerusalem, palaces with arcades and columns, actual palaces and squares, inhabited, however, by statues and paintings, created between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The Sacred Mount represents at the same time a sacred tale, theater, art, architecture, garden and a forest.
Map of the Sacro Monte
Download the map: File.pdf