A tour of the Sanctuary of the Madonna of Montenero, patron saint of Tuscany and a destination for pilgrims from all over Tuscany. We will introduce you to the works of art which it houses and the traditions of faith connected to the Miraculous Images of the Virgin which for nearly six centuries have appeared in Livorno. We will take a trip back in time through the extraordinary Gallery of Ex Votos which include images and objects of three centuries of everyday Tuscan life.
It was the 15th if May 1345 when a lame young shepherd found along the banks of a stream a painted image of the Madonna and child. An irrepressible inner voice drove him to put image on his shoulders and carry it up Montenero’s dark and foreboding hills which at that time infested with thieves, making it known as “the devil’s mountain.” Arriving at the summit the same voice asked him to put the image in a rocky cavern. Having done this, the shepherd got to his feet and only then realized that his legs were fully healed. Thus began the age-old story of Our Lady of Grace, widely known as the Madonna of Montenero. Established as a small chapel, over the centuries the structure was expanded until it became the baroque structure that one can admire today. In the atmosphere of 18th century the Sanctuary, surrounded by its miraculous images, frescoes and altars, we will explain the religious traditions and popular legends which link Livorno to its Madonna. Visiting the Hall of the Ex Votos, home to nearly 700 painted depictions of miracles from the end of the 18th century until the 20th, we will enter another dimension, retelling the stories of lives from times long past, surrounded by hundreds of votive objects which serve as reminders of miracles worked by the Madonna: fragments of boats from sailors rescued from shipwrecks, military helmets from those spared in times of war, swords, whalebones, and other objects linked to those who claim to have been saved by the Madonna’s intervention. We will continue onwards to visit the Hall of the Communes, where 200 coats of arms, donated by various Tuscan villages and communities to honor their patron saint, are displayed. To conclude, just in front of the Sanctuary, we will relax and enjoy the marvelous panorama of the Tuscan coast from the cafes of the summit square.
Length: approximately 1 hour*
Cost: 120 €
– You may choose to meet the guide in the Piazza delle Carrozze at the foot of the hill and within a few minutes ascend Montenero by taking the historic 1908 Funicular, with the addition of xx per person for the ticket (approximately 15 minutes).
– Those who leave from Livorno’s city center, arriving with a guide in their own vehicle, van, or tourist bus will have the opportunity to learn about landmarks and attractions along the 7 kilometer Livornese seaside route to the shrine. (approximately 30 minutes).
* Indicates the duration of a standard tour, which can be shortened or lengthened according to your wishes and compatibility with the type of excursion.