This incredible Italian church stands 2,539 feet (774 meters) above sea level and is built into the side of a cliff.
And as these pictures show, it almost looks like he’s suspended in mid-air: the Avatar of the Shrines.
The Santuario Madonna della Corona (or Sanctuary of the Lady of the Crown), which is built on the slope of Monte Baldo
It is a popular spot for pilgrims who are drawn to the church for its stunning views and the art it displays.
The beautiful church stands on a thin rock outcropping on a cliff that is 2,539 feet (774 meters) above sea level.
Called the Madonna della Corona Sanctuary (or Sanctuary of the Lady of the Crown), it is built on a thin rocky platform on Monte Baldo above the Adige river valley, near Lake Garda.
It’s a popular spot for pilgrims who are drawn by its stunning views, sculptures, and replicas of the Scala Santa, the stairs Jesus is said to have climbed in Pilate’s palace before his crucifixion.
The history of the Madonna della Corona Sanctuary dates back more than 1,000 years, the site originally being a hermitage where monks attached to the Abbey of San Zeno in Verona traveled for silent contemplation.
According to the church’s website, in the second half of the 13th century, there was a monastery on the site with a chapel dedicated to Santa María de Montebaldo.
The site of the church was originally a hermitage, where monks attached to the Abbey of San Zeno in Verona would gather for silent contemplation.
The current Gothic façade of the church was added to the building in 1899. It has undergone numerous alterations and restorations.
The church website explains: “This place is ideal for those who want to combine moments of prayer and inner peace with opportunities to relax and enjoy the silence that nature can offer in this beautiful place.”
Interior of the Madonna della Corona Sanctuary. In 1982, it was declared a ‘minor basilica’ of Italy and Pope John Paul II visited it in 1988.
But it wasn’t until 1530 that the oldest existing church structure was dedicated, although worshipers had to navigate a small cliff-side passage to reach it. Two sets of access steps were later built, including a bridge so that visitors no longer had to cross the river.
In 1625 an even larger church was built 13 feet above the existing building and in 1899 the present Gothic façade was added.
The church complex survived into the 20th century and in the 1970s underwent a complete restoration.
Pilgrims can reach the church by walking for two hours along a path that begins in the nearby town of Brentino.
In 1982, it was declared a ‘minor basilica’ of Italy and Pope John Paul II visited it in 1988.
Today, pilgrims can reach the Santuario Madonna della Corona by following a two-hour hiking trail from the town of Brentino, or they can drive to the town of Spiazzi and walk the kilometer-long path to the church. The path features 14 bronze statues representing the Stations of the Cross. There is also a shuttle bus that goes to the church from Spiazzi along the same road.
The church’s website explains: ‘This place is ideal for those who want to combine moments of prayer and inner peace with opportunities to relax and enjoy the silence that nature can offer in this beautiful place.’