A spectacular place that opens up among the rocks of Baldo to amaze with an ancient sanctuary. It is dedicated to the Madonna della Corona, and can be reached after a long panoramic walk (or through a shuttle service) that is moderately challenging.
Madonna della Corona, an ancient cult of the hermits
In this place of meditation, silence and prayer were already practiced in the Middle Ages: the hermits of the Abbey of San Zeno in Verona lived here, who had gathered on the heart of Mount Baldo to practice ascetic life since the year one thousand. Instead, it was in the thirteenth century that the first nucleus of the Sanctuary, a monastery, and a chapel dedicated to Santa Maria di Montebaldo was built. It was reached via a narrow, dangerous path carved into the rock for those who had the courage to reach up there, certainly praying with every step.
However, the birth of the Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona in local legend dates back to the Renaissance, when according to tradition, the sculpture of Mary from the island of Rhodes was brought here. Tradition has it that it arrived flying with angels from Rhodes at the moment when it was invaded by the Islamic army of Suleiman II: the sculpture represents the Pietà, known as Madonna della Corona and carved in local stone. Its pedestal bears the name of the donor Lodovico Castrobarco (Castelbarco) and the date, 1432.
Over the years, the devotion of the Madonna of the Sanctuary and the friars’ will made this place a well-known sanctuary, with the construction of a new church in the seventeenth century, as well as stairs and a wooden bridge with access to the valley already in place. A peculiarity is that the stairs are two, one of 234 steps, and the other of 556!
Many works were done over the centuries, and for example, the completion of the neo-gothic style facade took place in 1899, while a recent enlargement took place after the Second World War. In the seventies, a global restructuring project was carried out, which dismantled much of the ancient structures.
How to reach the sanctuary
The most exciting part is undoubtedly the journey to get there, as every good pilgrimage requires and also as every modern trekking recommends.
The most comfortable itinerary
The most comfortable route is the one that starts from Ferrara di Monte Baldo (Verona), from the Spiazzi locality, and lasts very little (500 meters away from the Sanctuary) being the “modern” route reachable by car or through a free shuttle service.
The asphalt road is located after the village and ends in a gallery carved into the rock in 1922. From here you can reach this unique structure, the Sanctuary, which seems almost suspended in the air, between the rock of Baldo and the terrace that allows you to admire a landscape that plunges almost 800 meters high!
The ancient itinerary
For those who want to experience the unique suggestion of the ancient pilgrimage route, it is possible to start from what is defined as the Sentiero della Speranza that starts from the territory of Brentino Belluno in Vallagarina. Many tourists and devotees of the Madonna travel this path, which lasts about 2 and a half kilometers and about two hours of walking. It starts with a paved staircase that enters the woods and then branches off with more hairpin turns on the mountain. It passes through a cave under the church, and here the path joins that which starts from Spiazzi. At this point, the ponte del Tiglio rises, and once this suggestive seventeenth-century stone connection is crossed, you can continue upwards on a path that runs along the valley.
After the journey, you reach the “infinite” staircase that will lead to facing almost 1500 steps to reach the wonderful view of the Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona (773 meters). These are perfect places for those seeking an intense journey, the search for serenity and relaxation, enjoying the natural spectacle of Baldo and the peace of such an ancient Sanctuary.
Where to take short breaks on the Sentiero della Speranza
Along the way, you can stop at some panoramic locations such as the terrazza La Croce, which offers a surprising view of the Adige Valley.
After the winding path, you arrive at the aforementioned Grotta della Pietà, a small cavity that houses the pilgrim’s book, where you can sign your presence.
You could say, jokingly, that you can also stop on the many steps, which are numerous but all different, alternating steps carved into the rock and more uncomfortable ones, to those formed by steps, cobblestone steps, and then stretches of path in the mountain. A climb that in some points is decidedly steep, and therefore facilitates the temptation to stop to drink and rest, as well as the suggestions of the panorama.
The most substantial stop, of course, is that of the Sanctuary, which opens after so much effort. Built in the heart of Mount Baldo, it seems like an inaccessible place, while with an effort of will and legs, it can be easily reached.
Ex-voto and holy stairs in the Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona
Among the many works and sculptures, inside there are many ex-voto tablets that the graced ones from invocations have offered over the centuries as a thank you. The oldest, from 1547, is from a woman saved from drowning in the Adige of Verona. Many others have disappeared over time due to thefts.
Another peculiarity of the Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona is the presence of the Holy Stairs, a reproduction of the one in Rome, which represents the stairs where Jesus went up and down during the day of Flagellation. Here too, you can walk up after dipping your hands in holy water, and only on your knees, you can climb the stairs.
Opening hours of the Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona
The diocesan Sanctuary of Verona, dedicated to Madonna della Corona, is always open during the year but varies its hours:
– November – March: from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. – April – October: from 7:00 am to 7:30 pm.
We remind you that the sanctuary is the final destination of a religious journey called Cammino dei due Santuari, which begins in the Santuario della Pieve di Chiampo. From here, it crosses seven valleys of the Prealpi Venete, and arrives at the Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona.