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Verona ● Lake Iseo ● Mantova ● Biella ● Pavia ●Milan ● Oropa ● Lake Orta ● Lake Maggiore ●
2. Lake Garda with Shrine of Our Lady of the Crown
The largest of Italy’s lakes creates a Mediterranean microclimate where olive, lemon and palm trees flourish on the sunny side of the Alps. The Madonna della Corona sanctuary is nestled into the cliffs halfway up Mount Baldo. A hermitage as early as 1000, the sacred site slowly underwent a series of transformations to become the basilica that stands there today. It is believed to have been transported there by angelic intervention from Rhodes when the island fell to the Turks in 1522
3. Lake Iseo & River Mincio: Santuario B.V. Maria delle Grazie
Today look forward to Lake Iseo, one of Italy’s most beautiful lakes at the foot of the Alps. You will have the opportunity to stroll through the labyrinth-like streets of the medieval district of Iseo, the main town on the lake, which will lead you up up the slope to the Castello Oldofredi. The pilgrimage church of Beata Vergine Maria delle Grazie, consecrated in 1406 and located not far from Mantua, is particularly impressive. From the outside, this church does not look very different from other Gothic churches, but as soon as one steps inside, visitors cannot hide their amazement: a crocodile hangs from the ceiling and niches in the walls house 53 life-size figures out of fabric and papier mâché.
4. Transfer to Biella with stop B.V. di Caravaggio and Certosa di Pavia
Our Lady of Caravaggio is a reported apparition of the Virgin Mary at Caravaggio, Italy in 1432. The Madonna di Caravaggio, or "del Fonte", is now an enormous shrine. It inspired a number of satellite shrines and some imitative visions. Pope Clement XI crowned the venerated image on 30 September 1710. The lavishly decorated church of Certosa di Pavia, as well as the monastery, which is still run by Carthusian monks, is a main attraction of Lombardy. In addition to the charterhouse, the two cloisters and monks’ cells are also worth visiting. The magnificent marble façade of the charterhouse in the style of Bramante is very impressive. Statues of Ludovico il Moro and the charming Beatrice d’Este are displayed in the charterhouse on the left-hand side.
5. Milan with Santa Maria delle Grazie and the Last Supper
Santa Maria delle Grazie ("Holy Mary of Grace") is a church and Dominican convent in Milan, northern Italy, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The church contains the mural of The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, which is in the refectory of the convent. Last Supper tickets upon request
The capital of Lombardy has a lot to offer including the cathedral, an imposing edifice, as well as the Scala, the world-famous opera.
6. Santuario di Oropa & Sacra di San Michele
One of the most famous Benedictine monasteries is today one of Europe’s most important examples of Romanesque architecture. The impressive shape of the abbey is due to the fact that the mountain has a very abrupt peak. The very steep and impressive ‘Stairway of the Dead’, which leads up to the church, is located inside the retaining walls. It was used as a model for the monastery in Umberto Eco’s novel ’The Name of the Rose’.
7. Lake Orta with Sacro Monte d’Orta and Lake Maggiore with Santa Caterina del Sasso
The Sacro Monte di Orta is a Roman Catholic devotional (St. Francis) complex in the comune of Orta San Giulio on the summit of a hill known as San Nicolao, which faces the western shore of Lake Orta. It is one of the Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy, included in UNESCO World Heritage list.
The Dominican monastery, Santa Caterina del Sasso, is located in an absolutely heavenly location in an escarpment on Lake Maggiore near Leggiuno. In the 13th century, a hermit is said to have lived here, by whose grotto the chapel of Saint Catherine was first erected. The church and Dominican monastery were added in the 14th century.
Accomodation in 3*/4* Hotels
HOTEL LA FONTE FRANCIACORTA – Ome 3 nights www.lafontehotelfranciacorta.it/?lang=en
HOTEL AGORA PALACE – Biella 4 nights www.agorapalace.com