Posted by: Paul G.
The Sanctuary appears to be hovering in midair. Built into a sheer cliff and rises from the jagged slopes of the Monte Baldo massif on a rocky terrace at a height of 774 metres above sea level, overlooking the valley of the river Adige. The sanctuary looks to be hung midway between Earth and Heaven when viewed from a distance, defying gravity. It draws pilgrims every day due to its long history and religious traditions.
After the permanent church was constructed in 1530, the location was used as a chapel for anybody wishing to make a pilgrimage and reflect on God's character in solitude. Over the next centuries, the main chapel underwent a variety of renovations, becoming larger and, at one time, having a new church constructed over the previous one.
The church managed to survive until the 20th century, decaying somewhat but otherwise intact, due to its relative inaccessibility, which prevented it from being completely demolished or desecrated. An Italian architect rebuilt most of the dilapidated building in the 1970s, taking care to preserve as many significant aesthetic flourishes as possible.
The once-dangerous mountain approach to the chapel has been made safer today, and the extraordinary church is still a well-traveled pilgrimage site for those going to witness the Scala Santa, an exact recreation of the stairs Jesus ascended to Pilate's castle before he was sentenced to death on the cross. Oh, and to see a church cling to a cliff as though it were hiding.
The Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona is a moving and unforgettable place to visit. If you want to hike all the way there rather than take the little shuttle bus, it also needs some physical stamina. The most important benefit of visiting it is the opportunity to fully appreciate the breathtaking beauty of the location, which includes the extraordinarily tall mountains on whose vertical slope it is built, the valley below, the river Adige meandering through, and the salmon-colored church peeking out from behind the ragged rocks with its bell tower reaching for the sky above.
The Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona is a wonderful place to visit. Make sure to allocate a half-day or an entire day for travel if you happen to be in the Veneto region in Northern Italy or the area near Lake Garda. To get best photography possible I would suggest sunrise/sunset times as they produce the best natural lighting possible.