The Sanctuary of the Madonna di Montenero is one of the Tuscan churches designated as a jubilee church by cardinals. As such, to obtain an indulgence during the Jubilee of Mercy, we can climb up to this beautiful, impressive and important holy place, full of history and surprises.
Why should you choose this place for your divine forgiveness?
FOR THE VIEW The Sanctuary of Montenero is near Livorno on the hills overlooking the sea, just outside the city. From up here, the view extends from Elba Island to Corse and Sardinia, with a breath-taking panorama at the end of the day, when the Sun dives into the sea and the sky colors.
FOR THE HISTORY Its foundation is said to be linked to the discovery of an image of the Virgin Mary on May 15, 1345, by a poor and crippled shepherd; he decided to bring the painting to the “black mountain” (Montenero), also known as the “devil’s mountain,” a secret hideout for bandits. The monks then decided to build a small church in honor of this image, which was considered miraculous. Due to the increasing popularity of the icon, a larger church soon replaced the original, and the building was further expanded in 1575, and again in 1720.
FOR THE UNEXPECTED MUSEUM Montenero is the best place to learn more about the ex-voto tradition in Tuscany: a votive offering to a saint, divinity or the Virgin Mary, given as a gesture of gratitude or devotion, in fulfillment of a vow, after a close shave, a cured illness, or a dangerous accident. The Gallery of Ex-Votives here is one of Italy’s largest collections of its kind: it features about 600 pieces, collected since the early 1800s, mainly related to life at sea and covering every wall and room. Some ex-voto have remarkable artistic value and are significant examples of popular art from the 18th and 19th centuries: this includes paintings, but also pictures, dresses, anatomical reproductions, and war heirlooms. This is not only a manifestation of faith, but also a window on everyday life during the different periods, including customs, transportation, jobs, activities and points of view.
INFORMATION You can visit the Sanctuary every day, from 6.30am to 12.30pm (1pm on Sundays) and from 2.30pm to 6 pm (7pm on Sundays).
On September 8, a pilgrim’s procession, starting in Livorno, lights up the Sanctuary for the whole night.
How to get there: by train - from Livorno Central Railway Station, take the bus to Piazza delle Carrozze and then the funicular; by car – take the Livorno-Quercianella road, exit at “Montenero”, go towards “Castellaccio” and then follow the signs to the Sanctuary; or, take the Aurelia (state road n. 1) and when you see the Cappella dell’Apparizione (the chapel of the Sanctuary) climb up to “Castellaccio”, or stop at the Piazza delle Carrozze and take the funicular (this option is the best one on Sundays and public holidays).