The Sacred Mount Calvary of Domodossola is one of the most important religious, historical and environmental sites in Piedmont. Since 2003, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as one of the Alp Sacred Mounts. The complex is of great cultural interest and is also a place of peace, prayer and meditation.
It was built in 1656 on Mattarella Hill, which still towers above the town of Domodossola: the main aim was to create a “Processional Way” along its slopes, a Via Crucis leading up to a shrine to receive worshippers.
The impressive and evocative Via Crucis, which is still walkable, starts from the centre of Domodossola, where in 1658, to mark the start of the route, the great Arco di Pilato was erected. It was later demolished in 1875. Following a paved road that takes you through a dense wood, you reach the top of the hill. As you ascend, you encounter the various Stations of the Cross, which are organized architecturally with a succession of fifteen chapels.
In 1828, the arrival of theologian and philosopher Antonio Rosmini gave new impetus to the design and spirituality of Sacred Mount Calvary: the Casa Madre dell’Istituto della Carità was erected in the square at the top of the hill. The building, which still holds great importance for the Rosminians, is home to the international postulancy and novitiate, and is also an important spiritual centre. Today, when you visit the Sacred Mount complex, you can still enter the cell that belonged to Rosmini.