The Oropa Sanctuary is the most important and largest Sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary to be found in the Alps. It is located in a unique, natural and unspoilt setting at 1200 m above sea level, in a Protected Reserve of Piemonte Region.
According to tradition, the origin of the Oropa Sanctuary dates back to the 4th century A.D., when it was erected by St. Eusebio, the first Archbishop of Vercelli. The oldest documents, dating back to 1200, mention the chapel where the Black Virgin was worshipped. The current Basilica (beginning of 1600) was erected around this small chapel, as was the rest of the impressive building complex, including the New Church that was consecrated in 1960. Famous architects like Filippo Juvarra, Guarino Guarini, Filippo Beltrame, Ignazio A. Galletti, Pierpaolo Bonora contributed to designing and developing the group of buildings which make up the Sanctuary.
Oropa offers a unique artistic and cultural heritage. A few examples: the 18th century Royal Door created by Arch. Juvarra, the Historical Library which counts thousands of ancient volumes, the two galleries dedicated to votive offerings, the Savoy Royal Pavilion and the Museum, with its collection of jewels and vestments.
The Sacred Mount, included among the Unesco World Heritage sites (Sacri Monti del Piemonte e della Lombardia), is formed by 12 chapels. Hundreds of polychromatic statues, sculpted from 1620 to 1720, are dedicated to the life of the Holy Virgin.
Near the Sacred Mount there is the Monumental Cemetery, where stands out the pyramid tomb of the statesman Quintino Sella.