When you drive past Cadenabbia lakefront you will feel attracted by the candor of a small church in the mid mountain, which seems to be engraved in the rock: it is the Church of San Martino now known as the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Grace.

The place, where the church was built, belongs to the village of Cadenabbia and thanks to its dominating position it was a part of a fortification system of the lake during the late Roman-Barbaric era; its dedication to Saint Martin (a warrior Saint who took part to many battles) confirms the strategic and military importance of the area.

The following dedication to Our Lady of Grace was due to a miracle happened in the seventeenth century during the plague: a young shepherdess from Griante discovered a fourteenth century wooden statue of Our Lady in a nearby cave; the villagers thought they had to bring the statue in procession to the Parish Church but during the night the venerated sculpture mysteriously returned to the small church in the mountains.

It is also worth reaching the Sanctuary on foot, leaving whether from Griante or from Rogaro. It was one of Don Achille Ratti’s (the future Pope Pio XI) favourite destinations, who usually spent his holiday in Griante.

Differently from other Marian effigies if you want to kiss this Virgin you have to climb on a small staircase on the altar side and necessarily bow your head in a sign of reverence.


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