· Garda Lake
Santuario Madonna della Corona
You will find it a stone’s throw away from Verona and just off Garda lake. This is a special place to visit and is one of Italy’s most well-known sanctuaries dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Built on a rocky terrace standing at a height of 774 m and overlooking the valley of the river Adige, it emerges from the craggy slopes of the Monte Baldo massif. Known initially as the Sanctuary of the Madonna of Monte Baldo, was later called "della Corona" for the crown that the mountain peaks form around the sanctuary. The history dates back to year 1000 AD, when monks from the Monastery of San Zeno in Verona set up a hermitage where the sanctuary now stands. At this time it could be only reached by a dangerous and narrow path among the rocks. The beauty and the peace of the place kept attracting people so in the second half of the 13th century a small monastery with a chapel dedicated to St. Mary of Montebaldo was build in the place where the current church is located. According to a local legend in 1522 a sculpture of a Madonna della Corona was miraculously transported here by angels from the island of Rhodes and a bigger church was build immediately after in place of the original chapel, along with a wooden access bridge. It became a sanctuary in 1625. Its relative inaccessibility has preserved the site, which has remained almost intact until the 20th century. The current facade was erected in 1899. Between 1975 and 1978 the church underwent a major renovation. In July 1982, Pope John Paul II elevated the sanctuary to a minor basilica. Inside the Sanctuary is the Scala Santa, a reproduction of the staircase located in Rome near the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano, supposedly the stairs Jesus walked the day he was crucified. How to Get to Spiazziby car: from the A4 Milan-Venice, take exit Peschiera del Garda and continue driving towards Spiazzi (km 38) or from the A22 Brennero-Modena, take exit at Affi direction Spiazzi (20 km). by train: get off at the station of Peschiera del Garda or Verona Porta Nuova and then take the bus line Caprino-Spiazzi on foot: there is a 2,5 km long winding path through the mountains and some 1,540 steep stairs from Brentino Belluno called “Sentiero della Speranza”. This hike is 2 hours in length. From the parking lot of Spiazzi there are three options: shuttle bus – The shuttle departs every 30 minutes, but please note that it only operates June through October. Tickets are €1.80 one-way or €3.00 round trip. walk – you just need to follow the paved road which starts from the main square of Spiazzi and goes all the way down to the sanctuary. It’s about 1 km long and it's the same road that the shuttle bus uses. It will take you past an alpaca farm followed by the Stations of the Cross. steps – there is a long flight of steps which leads from Spiazzi down to the sanctuary.