Le Chic En Rose

Diaries of an independent traveller

One of Locarno’s major attractions is the beautiful church of Madonna del Sasso, which sits majestically, if somewhat precariously, on a rocky crag overlooking the town and lake below. “Sasso” means “rock” in Italian. The church was consecrated here in 1487 at precisely the same spot where Bartolomeo d’Ivrea, a monk from the San Francesco Monastery in Locarno, had witnessed a vision of the Virgin Mary 7 years earlier in August 1480. Over the centuries it has become an important pilgrimage church and a place of sanctuary. The adjacent lookout point also affords a spectacular panoramic vista over Locarno and Lake Maggiore and views across to the snow covered peaks of the Lepontine alpine range.

View across Lake Maggiore and towards the Alps from the Madonna del Sasso Lookout point

View across Lake Maggiore and towards the Alps from the Madonna del Sasso Lookout point

 

There are a couple of options for getting up to the church, which is situated near the hillside suburb of Orselina. One is to make the ascent by foot, up the steep and wooded ravine, that leads up the mountain from Locarno – this takes about 20 minutes. However we opted to take the Locarno-Madonna del Sasso Funicular (FLMS in its Italian abbreviated form), which is obviously a lot quicker! You alight at Madonna del Sasso station and come to the panoramic viewing point before walking down some steps to the church itself. We didn’t have the best day for taking photos but the views were still impressive. They would have been magnificent on a clear sunny day! We walked around the grounds of the church but opted not to go round. The sanctuary is open to the public on a daily basis and you can find out further details here.

 

 

The final stop on the funicular is just a little further up the hill at Orselina. Here you can switch to the Cardada Cable Car and from Cardada Station a chair lift, which takes you to the summit of Cimetta mountain. Β At 1671 metres above sea level, Cimetta offers skiing and other winter sporting activities and is also a favoured destination for summer hikers. Since it wasn’t the best day for panoramic viewing, Β we didn’t make the ascent to the top but if you are interested there is more information here though you’ll need to be able to read Italian as I couldn’t find a link in English!

 

Lake Maggiore is a hauntingly beautiful place and I never tired of taking photos – some of the most idyllic moments were as dusk was falling.

 

Next week we’re heading off to a beautiful island in the middle of the lake, home to some of the most gorgeous botanical gardens we had ever seen. The island also has a rather risque past – definitely a change of scene from Madonna del Sasso! Caio for now!

 

Copyright Β© 2015 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved

24 thoughts on “A Church With A View: Madonna del Sasso Orselina

  1. I wonder if the priest has difficulty holding peoples’ attention during the service?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I’m not sure how many services they hold here but it would be difficult if people were trying to peer down at the view! There is a sanctuary here so I think people go there for spiritual retreats – it is certainly very peaceful up in the mountains!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It is already very beautiful and impressive ! I can imagine how it could be with a blue sky ! I can’t wait to see your pictures from the botanical gardens, I’m crazy about botanical gardens !! They are so interesting:-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Gin I saw some photos with blue skies on other tourist sites and they were amazing – I always use all my own photos though as it is more authentic that way and obviously it does cloud over Lake Maggiore sometimes! You’ll love the botanical gardens they were superb – I have so many photos I just need to work out which ones to use but I will definitely post them next week and we had wonderful weather that day too!! Have a lovely weekend πŸ™‚

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      1. I prefer to see “real” pictures as well, it add to the experience. You can really “travel” with the person when he or she tells his/her story πŸ™‚ Blogs that use stock pictures or images found on the internet feel real cold to me. It’s difficult for me to connect with the owner. Thank you ! You too ! It’s almost over for you but for me, I’ve just started it πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I agree much better to have your own photos as that really tells the story of your travels and then give links to provide further information on the areas you’ve visited if readers want to explore further. Our weekend is nearly over but we’ve had a nice time. Wishing you well for the week ahead πŸ™‚

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          1. Thank you ! We had a wonderful 15Β°C yesterday, it was amazing !

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Sounds great Gin am so glad the weather is warming up for you and hope it continues! Have a lovely week πŸ™‚

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  3. Lucy says:

    I was thinking 10 minutes ago about not seeing any posts from you, in quite a while now πŸ™‚ Wow, what a beautiful view! Breathtaking. I’m sure it was worth the trip. The pictures with the lake look out of this world. Have a lovely day!! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lucy πŸ™‚ I always post once a week on a Friday – I find that with all my other commitments that’s about the right balance for me. That’s lovely that you were just thinking about my blog and then I published my post – must be telepathy! I had a very busy week last week as well so am catching this weekend on all the blogs I love – will be heading your way soon! The views over Lake Maggiore were stunning and I always love a trip on a funicular too it was really fun! Have a lovely weekend too! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lucy says:

        I didn’t catch on the Friday posting routine. I guess I kind of lost track of days lately, but yes, i was wondering what’s up that I didn’t see anything else from you πŸ™‚ Indeed, that view is breathtaking. Hugs x

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks Lucy yes I find it’s easier for me that way to get into a regular weekly posting schedule! Hope you’ve had a good weekend! πŸ™‚

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  4. Definitely a church with a view Rosemary – and what a view!! Just wonderful – there’s something about snowy mountains isn’t there? I know you said you didn’t have the best weather for pictures but I think they’re wonderful – very atmospheric!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Joy πŸ™‚ Am glad you liked the photos too and as you say lakes and mountains can be just as wonderful in cloudy weather – really adds to the atmosphere! I know I just love snowy mountains just looking at them is such a “feel good” experience and that church did have the most incredible view!! Have a lovely weekend πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Very impressive and a nice history of the church! Beautiful pictures of what looks like a wonderful place! I am looking forward to read about the trip to the island on the lake next week. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Hanne – I thought the church and view deserved a post on their own. Originally I was going to include it with last week’s post on Locarno but I thought that wouldn’t do Madonna del Sasso and the panoramic viewing point justice! I’m in the process of sorting through the photos from our island trip and the gardens – I took so many as it was simply stunning πŸ™‚ I will share that post next week! Have a great weekend πŸ™‚

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      1. I agree! It deserved a post on its own πŸ™‚
        I cant wait to see some of the many pictures from the island trip and gardens this week. I feel like I am there as well, and I enjoy getting to know these places, as I had no idea they excised.
        Have a great new week πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks Hanne I have sorted through my photos of the island and gardens and the post is nearly finished! There are some beautiful parts of the world and it is great to be able to share them as bloggers! Have a lovely week ahead too! πŸ™‚

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  6. KerryCan says:

    What a spot! This last three photos are stunning!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kerry πŸ™‚ Am glad you love the photos too – those ones of dusk were some of my special favourites the light and colours across the lake and mountains were amazing!

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  7. restlessjo says:

    Oh, I want to come with you!!! Even if the view stays murky πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jo I loved it even in slightly cloudy weather! The sun came out though and I have some lovely photos of one of the islands to share this week! Have a lovely week πŸ˜ƒ

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I think that you said it best ‘Lake Maggiore is a hauntingly beautiful place’. Your photos are AMAZING! It is wonderful to live vicariously through your talented eye!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lisa really appreciate your kind comments I just snap away and see what happens! More photos coming up this week and the sun came out too! Have a lovely week πŸ˜ƒ

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