The sanctuary of Montallegro, a place of worship not to be missed in Rapallo

Sanctuary of the Madonna di Montallegro
Sanctuary of the Madonna di Montallegro

The Sanctuary of Nostra Signora di Montallegro is one of the main marine sanctuaries in the province of Genoa, located on a hill in the hinterland of Rapallo. Built in 1558, it was finished in 1896 with the laying of the marble facade by the architect Luigi Rovelli.

It was named after the Virgin Mary, to celebrate her appearance to a Rapallo peasant, thus becoming a point of reference for the whole community. The anniversary of the apparition is celebrated every year on the first three days of July, with religious celebrations and night and day fireworks on the sea.

Inside the sanctuary, the vaults are finely frescoed by the Genoese painter Nicolò Barbino, while the walls are studded with hundreds of painted or bas-relief votive offerings to show the devotion of the faithful to the Virgin. Among the votes also preserved was that of Queen Margherita of Savoy, donated to the sanctuary on January 30, 1905, to commemorate the late husband King Umberto I of Savoy, killed in Monza in 1900 by an anarchist.

On the high altar, the miraculous image left by the Madonna on the site of the apparition as a token of love to the community of Rapallo is kept, along with the prodigious gushing of a source, whose waters have been channeled into a fountain that is still found in the side chapel of the Sanctuary.

The sanctuary rises in a marvelous panoramic position, 600 meters above sea level and is connected to the center of Rapallo by a road, a public bus service and the panoramic cable car, which starts right from the city center and reaches Montallegro in six minutes.

Once reached the Sanctuary, there are ancient mule tracks that connect the Sanctuary with Uscio, Cicagna, Chiavari, with the Ligurian hinterland, and also paths for lovers of trekking and mountain biking. For those traveling by train, it is sufficient to get off at the Rapallo station, and immediately behind the same station, there is the cable car to reach the Sanctuary. From the Miramare with a 10-minute walk you reach the valley station of the cable car, which leads to the sanctuary.

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