In Italy but also in Europe, religious tourism is booming, Suites Marilia offers the faithful the visit of the Sanctuary of Montenero, home of the miraculous image of the Virgin Mary and of the numerous Ex-Votes donated from 1800 to today.
The origins of the Sanctuary date back to May 15, 1345, the feast of Pentecost, when, according to tradition, a poor crippled shepherd found the miraculous image of the Virgin Mary and after an inner intuition took her to the Montenero hill, a place already known as a refuge of brigands and therefore considered obscure, gloomy ... the "mountain of the devil".
Beyond the many legends surrounding the story of the discovery of the image of the Madonna, which the critics attribute instead to a certain Iacopo di Michele known as Gera, it seems that this image appeared in Montenero following a revival of religious fervor, around to 1341. Just this year the inhabitants of Livorno, then little more than a fishing village, would have organized an autonomous cult of sacred images, recently painted, opposed however by the ecclesiastical authorities that ordered the cessation of the cult and the disappearance of the relative images. It is not inconceivable that in the face of this hostility, the image was hidden and then found near the bed of the river '' Ardenzo '', by that shepherd who diligently took it to the top of the mountain to entrust it almost certainly to the custody of some hermit .
The Chapel of the Apparition, located just before Piazza delle Carrozze, it is the place where tradition traces the discovery of the Image of the Madonna di Montenero by a shepherd. Built in 1956, wider and more beautiful than the existing one and in the same place where the half-destroyed '' Little Chapel 'was located during the last war.
The fame of the miraculous image soon spread, because of the many graces made by the Blessed Virgin; the pilgrimages begin and with them the offers for the small oratory that houses the Madonna.
Already in 1380 work began to expand the Chapel and the rooms that served as shelter for pilgrims. In 1720, the Theatines began the enlargement works of the Sanctuary that ended in 1774. In this period of time the Madonna of Montenero worked some miracles in favor of the whole city as in 1742 when the city was devastated by a violent earthquake and once again rescued by its protector and by its image that was transported to the city and placed in front of the Collegiate. In Livorno, that miracle was never forgotten infact every year the vow that the Leghorns made to the Madonna is renewed.
The Sanctuary of Montenero has one of the largest collections of Italian votive offerings; there are at least seven hundred collected and displayed in the large rooms that surround the Church. The date of these votive tablets is recent, starting from the early 1800s to today. Over the course of these two centuries, a large number of people have wanted to leave an ex-voto, a painting, an object that would recall the grace received and together constitute a thanksgiving for the Blessed Virgin Mary. The ex-votos, besides describing the faith of those who wanted to leave them, also show us splits of everyday life of different periods: people with their customs, roads, the sea, houses, means of transport .. ... a simple and at the same time precious piece of history. They are manifestations of piety, devotion and thanksgiving to the Virgin. You can also admire works by famous authors: '' Il cavallino "by Giovanni Fattori," Il motociclista "by Renato Natali and, by the same author, also an image with the Port of Livorno.
Holy Masses in the Sanctuary
Festivities: 7.00 am - 8.30 am - 10.00 am - 11.30 am
Standard time: 4.30pm and 5.30pm
Summer time: 17:00 and 18:30
Weekday: 7:00 am - 9:00 am - 10:30 am
Standard time: 16:30
Summer time: 17:00
Holy Rosary: 16:00 (Standard Time) - 16:25 (Daylight Saving Time)
Hours of confessions in the Sanctuary
8:30 - 12:00 Standard Time: 16:00 and 17:30 - Daylight Saving Time: 16:00 and 18:00
Sanctuary opening hours
Standard time: 6:30 am - 12:30 pm / 2:30 pm - 6:00 pm - Summer time: 6:30 am - 12:30 pm / 2:30 pm - 7:00 pm
For further infos visit the website: Santuario di Montenero