Among the many rites of Holy Week we like to remember that the Via Crucis which usually takes place on the Friday before Easter, and which gives us the opportunity to talk about a very interesting artistic phenomenon that developed between Piedmont and Lombardy between the end of the 15th and the beginning of the 16th century.
The Via Crucis is a rite of the Catholic Church which commemorates the path of Jesus as he sets out for crucifixion on Golgotha. Most historians recognize the beginning of this specific devotion to the Franciscan tradition, as the Franciscan Minors from 1342 had been entrusted with the custody of the Holy Places of Palestine. In the beginning, the Via Crucis was a real pilgrimage to the Holy Land, but since this activity was closed to most, its representation in churches became a way to bring Jerusalem to each believer.
Following this tradition, the construction of the Sacred Mountains, with the idea of creating alternative places of prayer in Europe to the Holy Land, to which access became increasingly difficult due to the rapid expansion of the Ottoman Empire. A second purpose was to contrast, through a pedagogical and devotional path with a strong emotional impact, the influence of Protestantism in the border areas with the reformed countries.
The Sacred Mountain of Varallo, in Piedmont, is the oldest and most beautiful monumental complex of this type in Italy. Founded in 1491 by the Franciscan Bernardino Caimi returning from a trip to Palestine, it has become a model for all the others built along the Alps.
The Sacred Mountain of Varallo, a UNESCO heritage site, stands on a rocky hill and is made up of a basilica and 45 finely frescoed chapels also by Gaudenzio Ferrari, the greatest Renaissance painter in Piedmont, and decorated with more than 800 wooden or terracotta statues life-size polychrome. It can be reached on foot from the town center and, beyond its religious value, it is an artistic jewel that is worth a visit.
Discover other places to visit in Turin and its surroundings:
Scuola Leonardo da Vinci Turin
The welcoming friendly atmosphere of our school will make you feel at home and you can relax with your classmates in the small gardens of the adjacent pedestrian area.
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