One of the most beautiful tourist attractions of Domodossola is the Sacro Monte Calvary, which stands on the Mattarella Hill (363 m) in a dominant position above the Toce valley, with a view over the whole of Domodossola and the surrounding mountains.
Built in the second half of the 17th century by two Capuchin friars, Gioachino da Cassano andAndrea da Rho, and by the local population, the Sacro Monte is dedicated to the Passion of Christ. It comprises fifteen chapels/stations of the cross (Via Crucis), 12 outside and 3 in the Sanctuary church, with life-sized tableaux of painted terracotta statues by a number of artists, including Dionisio Bussola, the engraver Giulio Gualio, the painters Carlo Mellerio and Giovanni Sanpietro.
In this place of spirituality, in 1828 Antonio Rosmini, the eminent abbot-philosopher and a major figure in the Verbano Cusio Ossola, founded the Institute of Charity, still under the guardianship of the Rosminian Fathers, as is the House of Spiritual Exercises, an eighteenth century building next to the Sanctuary, which serves as a retreat for those in need of a period of reflection and prayer.
There are traces of over a thousand years of civil and religious history on the Sacro Monte. These include the rock engravings that can be seen on some boulders, the foundations of church with two apses, and a fragment of a marble tablet, evidence that here was a centre of a Paleochristian cult, and the remains of the ancient Mattarella castle.
In 1991 the area was designated a Special Nature Reserve in Piedmont Region, recognising its value for the local flora and fauna, and for the easy hikes the environment offers.
The Sacro Monte of Domodossola is an ideal place for lovers of art and nature.
How to get there By car: the A26 motorway continues after Gravellona Toce as the Simplon dual carriageway. Take this road an exit at Domodossola.
Sacro Monte Calvario of Domodossola