Shrines dedicated to the Blessed Virgin

The territory of Biella is famous for shrines and sanctuaries dedicated to the Virgin, among the most renowned and rich in Piedmont.
The most famous is the sanctuary of Oropa, one of the most important in Europe. Nested in a striking mountain hollow, this place is dedicated to the Black Virgin, known as Holy Virgin of Oropa. Tradition says that the founder of the Christian veneration in Oropa was St. Eusebio, Bishop of Vercelli during IV century. The Saint is told to have brought the wooden statue of the Virgin, carved by St. Luke, to Oropa after finding it in Jerusalem. The building of a proper church dates back to 1200; since then the Shrine has been enlarged to give hospitality to the increasing number of pilgrims, until reaching the present aspect.

The territory of Biella hosts others shrines dedicated to the Holy Virgin. The airy and picturesque Elvo valley, for example, surrounded by forests of beeches and chestnut trees, was chosen by Graglia’s priest, Nicolao Velotti, in XVII century, to be the place for the erection of a Sacred Mountain, right on San Carlo hill. The original project consisted of a Temple of remarkable proportions and a hundred chapels. Unfortunately the project failed and in 1655 was decided the building of an imposing Basilica on the Divine Goodness hill, where already existed a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Loreto.

Not far from Campiglia, in the Cervo valley, a picturesque road in the trees winds up to 1020 m where lies the Shrine of St. John the Baptist of Andorno. The origin of this sacred place is not known: in the early times the simulacrum of the Saint was venerated in a natural cave and in XVII century the first church was built.

In the end we can’t forget the Shrine of Our Lady of Brughiera, in the Oasi Zegna and the Church of San Secondo, not far from Monastic Community of Bose, founded and leaded by the charismatic prior Enzo Bianchi.


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