The Sanctuary of the Madonna del Sangue in Re, the Monumental Church of San Gaudenzio in Baceno and the Sanctuary of Boden in Ornavasso are the finest examples of the wide and varied range of buildings connected to popular religion in Ossola Valley.
Places of prayer and devotion that have historically undergone major structural changes, while fully preserving the religious sentiment of the people of these valleys.
Famous incidents, such as the story of the stone thrown against the image of the Madonna di Re, are accompanied by other lesser-known episodes and recounted in small oratories or in the Via Crucis that extends through an ancient mountain forest in the Antigorio Valley. The area also contains well-known sites of meditation and prayer, such as Sacro Monte Calvario in Domodossola, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Very often, popular religion is historically linked to the Walser civilization, which influenced many areas of the Ossola valleys: authentic processions and prayers testify to traditions that cross local boundaries.
One of the most notable religious objects is the ex-voto. Many can be found inside several religious buildings in Lower and Upper Ossola, attesting to the strong religious devotion in the area.
Finally, you can witness the oldest religious celebrations, such as Candlemas, the festival that has long been linked to the Walser colony of Salecchio in Antigorio Valley. Today, Candlemas is a celebration that is still very important to the people of Antrona Valley: in Viganella, part of the municipality of Borgomezzavalle, the “return of the sun” has been celebrated every February since the early 17th century: in fact, since 2006, the winter sun’s rays have been artificially reflected on the village by the famous mirror.
Religion in Ossola Valley is key to understanding a mountain area dotted with real jewels of sacred art, a journey from Romanesque to Baroque to discover a new, fascinating itinerary.