Outdoor Cuneo Alps

Abbeys and Sanctiaries Piedmont Italy

A land of art and culture, popular worship and tradition, the province contains a host of abbeys, sanctuaries, churches and chapels, from the most magnificent buildings to the more basic constructions immerses in the silence of the mountains.

The setting of one of the two sanctuaries of the town of Cuneo is a wonderful tree-lined avenue which has no less than four rows of plane-trees which extend for three kilometres, and which ends up in front of the 18th century sanctuary of the Madonna degli Angeli (Madonna of the Angels). While the other sanctuary, that of Madonna della Riva, that is located just outside the town is perhaps less elaborate but never the less equally splendid.
All the other surrounding villages and towns, of the valleys around Cuneo, also bear testimony to faith which goes hand in hand with artistic works in many other sanctuaries. Ranging from churches boasting Medieval art masterpieces such as that of the Madonna dei Boschi of Boves, with its chapel of San Francesco, to the sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary known as that of Regina Pacis in Fontanelle. While the Jubilee routes intersect the Sanctuary of Sant’Anna in Vinadio in the Upper Stura Valley, which at an altitude of 2010 metres is the highest in Europe, as well as the Sanctuary of San Magno in Castelmagno in Valley Grana at an altitude of 1761 metres, which has for centuries been the destination point of many pilgrimages; as well as the Sanctuary of Valmala which was built on the site in which an apparition of the Virgin Mary appeared to certain poor shepherd girls. Then we can cite the ancient Carthusian monastery which overlooks the Pesio valley and the churches featuring typical Alpine architecture of the Maira valley, which are part of the so-called “Mistà” circuit, which has sought to restore these ancient art works and which culminates in Elva in the parish church painted by the Flemish painter Hans Clemer, renowned in Europe as the “Master of Elva”. While one of the masterpieces of Saluzzo is the Abbey of Santa Maria in Staffarda, built by the Cistercian monks of the 13th century, which is a particularly splendid complex consisting of a church, cloister, vestry, Capitular hall, monk’s rooms, guest quarters, refectory, wheat loggia as well as imposing entrance. The sanctuary of Vicoforte in Mondovì is famed for its elliptic dome, the work of Francesco Gallo, which is the largest of its kind in the world, despite the elaborate decorative detail of this building it is still blends in wonderfully with its surroundings. Just before entering Bra we come to the Sanctuary of the Madonna dei Fiori, built on the site of an apparition to a local woman Egida Mathis, and where a thicket miraculously blooms every December.


CUNEO – Chiesa di Santa Croce

Via Fratelli Vaschetto

The Chiesa (Church) of Santa Croce is a beautiful building dating back to the 18th century, characterized by a concave façade decorated with stucco work and frescos. Its interior follows the design of two ellipsoids which meet up according to 18th century architectural usage. The cornices, the decorations, and the stucco work which embellish the interior make this church a true jewel of Baroque art. Very interesting is the canvas by Moncalvo depicting a Madonna with Child painted between the 1500’s and the 1600’s; also the Cattedra (Pulpit) di San Bernardo visible from the apse is worthy of note.

CUNEO - Santa Maria del Bosco
Via Seminario, 3 - Tel. +39.0171.693630
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The cathedral of Cuneo, dedicated to Santa Maria del Bosco (Saint Mary of the Woods) was built on the same spot where another religious building arose during the Middle Ages. The design of the church is the work of Giovenale Boetto, the architect from Fossano born during the second half of the 17th century, but its present look is the result of a major restoration that was carried out toward the end of the 19th century and reflects the Neo-Classic taste of that period. Topped by a beautiful dome, it has an elegant façade with high Corinthian columns that support a large pediment. Inside, there are numerous 17th century paintings and a very beautiful pulpit from the same period.

CUNEO – Ex Chiesa di San Francesco
Via Santa Maria, 10
Museo Civico di Cuneo Tel. +39.0171.634175 +39.0171.648357

The Chiesa di San Francesco, built on an already existing building of the same name, and the Convent both host the Museo civico di Cuneo (Civic Museum of Cuneo) and are one of those rare architectural testimonies of the Dark Ages in Cuneo. The plan of the church has three naves with rectangular apses. The dominant style is the Gothic that replaces the Romanesque style present in the earlier construction. 12 chapels open onto the right of the naves and 10 to their left. During the Franco-Spanish siege of 1744, the church was transformed into a hospital and the Franciscan convent into a stable. The situation worsened during the French Revolution when Napoleon dissolved the religious order, confiscating its assets. The second lengthy period of decline reduces the complex of San Francesco into a military deposit. It wasn’t until 1928 that there is a first indication of a restoration of the façade, and in 1970, the church and the convent are returned to their former glory with the settlement (among others) of the Civic Museum in the rooms of the convent. In the church, the vaulting of the Cappella Vitali is entirely covered with decorations in plaster dating back to the 17th century, attributed to the Rusca family, active in the Savoia court.

CUNEO - Chiesa di Sant'Ambrogio
Via Roma, 9 - Tel.+39.0171.692472

Along the main route, Via Roma, is the church dedicated to the patron saint of Milano in memory of the help received by the citizens of Cuneo from the people of Milano during the war against the French. The origins of the church date back to 1231, but during the 18th century, it was completely rebuilt following the design of the architect Francesco Gallo.

CUNEO – Chiesa di San Sebastiano
Via Mondovì
The Chiesa di San Sebastiano (Church of Saint Sebastian), today undergoing major restoration and renovation work, will be the seat of the Museo Diocesano and will house those assets and objects which, over time, have been the expression of devotion and local art. The construction of the church dates back to the 14th century, but, naturally, over the centuries, it has been restored and fixed up so many times that it is difficult to recognize the elements from the original architecture. The most important work was carried out during the 16th century; however, the present day façade dates to the 1880’s. Inside, there is a beautiful choir by Tommaso Fontana which dates back to the end of the 16th century.

CUNEO – Santuario di Santa Maria degli Angeli
Viale Angeli, 1 – Tel. +39.491284

In the heart of the city, built on the spot where, in ancient times, a Franciscan hermitage was located, the Santuario di Santa Maria degli Angeli (Sanctuary of Saint Mary of the Angels) rises up with its splendid and richly frescoed dome. The building’s construction, work of the architect Francesco Gallo, was finished in 1718. The Santuario has a single nave with a frescoed dome above it which depicts the Assumption. Inside, there are also other works of great artistic interest such as the canvas by Monacalvo depicting San Diego d’Alcantra and fresco cycle depicting the life of San Francesco (Saint Francis) and of the Beato Angelo Carlatti. In the Cappella dell’Immacolato Concezione (Chapel of the Immaculate Conception), is the funerary mausoleum of the Galimberti family, among whom figures Duccio, an illustrious citizen of Cuneo as well as hero of the Resistance.

BORGO SAN DALMAZZO - Chiesa di San Dalmazzo
Tel. +39.0171.266133 - fax +39.0171.269952 –

The great Benedictine abbey of the eleventh century with elements of Roman time is related to the cult of the martyr S. Dalmazzo, that began in the second century. The abbey was an important reference point for the pilgrims travelling between Northern Italy and the Provence. Quite interesting is the superposition of churches starting from those of the early Christianity; the fourteenth century chapel built by Joanna I of Anjou.

BORGO SAN DALMAZZO - Santuario di Monserrato
Tel. +39.340.2549768 - www.santuariodimonserrato

The origins of the Sanctuary of Monserrato goes back to the first half of the XVII century and are linked to the cult of the dark-skinned Madonna, worshipped in Montserrat (Spain) and in Oropa (Italy). Probably, as a result of the severe epidemic plague that struck the northern part of Italy between 1628 – 1630, the population of Borgo San Dalmazzo decided to build a Sanctuary in honour of the Virgin.


FOSSANO - Cattedrale di Santa Maria e San Giovenale

Via Vescovado - Tel. +39.0172.61345
www.comune.fossano.cn.it – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Cattedrale (Cathedral) di Fossano was built at the end of the 18th century following the design of the architect Mario Ludovico Quarini, on top of the structure of the earlier collegiate church of Santa Maria and San Giovenale dating back to the 13th century. The present building has an imposing, Neo-Classic type façade done in open brick and has works by artists such as Claret and Boetto as well as 19th century frescos by Luigi Hartman, Davide Ortori, Emilio Morgari, and Domenico Mosello inside. Interesting is the reliquary of San Giovenale, patron saint of the city.

FOSSANO - Chiesa della Santissima Trinità
Ufficio Turistico tel. +39.0172.1795364

The Chiesa della Santissima Trinità, designed by the architect Francesco Gallo, was built between 1723 – 1728 in a very fine Baroque style: the building is entirely done in brick and has an harmonic concave façade and a very slender bell tower. Nearby the church rises the civic hospital, also designed by Gallo and covered in brick

FOSSANO Cussanio - Santuario Madonna della Divina Provvidenza
Diocesi di Fossano Tel. +39.0172.691030 - Fax +39.0172.691696

The Church was built after the apparition of Our Lady (8-11 May 1521) to Bartolomeo Coppa, giving him the sight and the word and inviting the population of Fossano to penance. A first chapel was built after a plague. It was then expanded to a larger church with one nave by Augustinian Monks of the Congregation of Genoa. Finally in 1875 the bishop Emiliano Manacorda began the construction of the present building, adorned by two aisles and numerous altars and sculptures.

BENE VAGIENNA - Chiesa di San Francesco
Comune Tel. +39.0172.654152 - Parrocchia +39.0172.654179

The Church was completed in 1659 and houses some precious stucco of Beltramelli brothers. The temple is rich of altars. The chapel to the left of the main altar is object to worship the body of the Blessed Countess Paola Gambara Costa, stored in a crystal urn. The marble altar of the Gentilizia Chapel of the Counts Costa, dating back to 1725, was designed by Filippo Juvarra. A peculiarity of the church is the sixteenth-century wooden choir coming from the destroyed convent Rocchetta. The choir, made up of twenty-four stalls richly carved with sacred and profane representations, dates back to the first half of ‘500. It is considered tp be one of the most ancient and interesting choir in the province of Cuneo


SALUZZO - Duomo Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta

Piazza Garibaldi, 1 – Tel. +39.0175.42239 - +39.0175.42962

At the end of the 15th century, Marquis Ludovico II had the structure built to show the importance of his family’s house in religious circles and, by doing so, free himself from any type of subjection by the House of Savoy. Created in the Lombard Gothic style, it is a huge structure with a beautiful brick façade and a central white plaster section with frescos by Hans Clemer, a great artist from Picardy working for the Marquises of Saluzzo. The three main entrances (the central entrance is topped by a high wimperg framed in terracotta with fascias of decorative motifs) lead visitors into the church’s interior divided into three naves – a higher, central nave and two lateral naves. The decorations and furnishings, which date back to earlier times, have significant artistic value, in particular, the 14th century wooden crucifix above the central nave, the polyptych by Hans Clemer in the 18th century chapel del SS. Sacramento (Very Holy Sacrament), and the high Baroque altar embellished with statuary work by Carlo Giuseppe Plura.

SALUZZO - Chiesa e convento di San Bernardino
Via San Bernardino, 9
Parrocchia tel. +39.0175.42636 e Convento tel. +39.0175.42465

The construction of the complex, built by the Marquis Ludovico I, dates back to 1471. The complex became the headquarter of the Franciscans. Of the original building in Lombard Gothic style you can admire the northern wall and the apse. Not to be missed the very interesting cloister.

SALUZZO - Chiesa e Convento di San Giovanni
Via San Giovanni, 9

The Church and Convent of S. Giovanni is a place of faith of great historical – artistic relevance. On gothic style, despite the various changes and later additions, the church was built in the twelfth-century. In the charming interior we must remember the Chapel of the Saints Crispino and Cipriano, with XV century frescoes with episodes of the Passion; the Rosario chapel and the sepulchral chapel of the Marquis. In the latter, a fascinating example of the Burgundian gothic of the XV century, we found the burial monument to Ludovico II.


SAVIGLIANO - Chiesa di Sant'Andrea

Via Sant’Andrea – Tel. +39.0172.712280

The Church has its origins prior to 1000, as some ruins discovered in 1879 witness. The first written document that proves the existence of the church dates back to 1098. From it we deduce that the ancient complex of S. Andrea had a parish; the establishment of the priory dates back to 1171. The present structures with five naves is after the work of the architect Andrea Benedetto Vay (after 1728). He also supervised the new bell tower (1737), then raised in 1928 by Giuseppe Gallo, and the scenic façade completed in 1731. From 1737 the church took the title of Collegiata.

SAVIGLIANO - Chiesa di Santa Maria della Pieve
Tel. +39.0172.12962

The Church is considered to be the most ancient in the town: probably it was built in the V century. Between 1767 and 1769 the architect Bartolomeo Ricca worked on the church, giving it the actual appearance: the structure with one nave and side chapels were already present in the previous building. The bell tower has been completely rebuilt in 1870. The terrace was long used as an astronomical observatory. Among others, Giovanni Virginio Schiaparelli from Savigliano used it when he was young. He then became one of the greatest astronomers of the nineteenth century.

SAVIGLIANO - Chiesa di San Pietro dei Cassinesi
Comune di Savigliano tel. +39.0172.710111  
The parish Church of S. Pietro Apostolo, better known as the complex of S. Peter’s abbey, rises in the old centre of Savigliano. Founded on the ruins of a temple dedicated to Diana, the church and the monastery date back to 585. The complex was then ruined by the Saracens in XI century. It was rebuilt by the patricians of Savigliano and was used by the Benedictine monks. The church was built in Romanesque style with three naves and a cloister. From 1434 to 1436 the abbey hosted the university. Of great artistic value is the apse with paintings of Molineri and Arbasia. The Benedictine cloister in the Renaissance style, is adjacent to the church.

SAVIGLIANO - Santuario della Sanità
Strada Sanità, 126
Tel. +39.0172.716083 - visite al Museo tel. +39.335.8100582

The Sanctuary of Madonna della Sanità is located in the countryside of Savigliano and is place where many noble people of House Savoy were devotees. The princess Maria Clotilde commissioned on the façade the coat of arms of Savoy and France as a sign of devotion and as a pledge of protection. At the Sanctuary it is possible to visit the Museum of Ex Voto, a collection of nearly 1500 painted votive tablets and many embroidery on cloth and silver objects.