A day trip from Stresa & Lake Maggiore: Vigezzo Valley and the Sanctuary of Re - Ossola Valley. Religious and cultural itineraries in the Italian Lake District
- THE SANCTUARY OF RE, VIGEZZO VALLEY
Arriving in the tiny village of Re, right at the end of Vigezzo Valley, nearly at the Swiss border, the mountainous landcape is interrupted by a striking construction. The big size and the amazing structure of the Sanctuary are evocative of its importance: in fact this big church was built in 1922 to recall the miraculous events that occurred in the village in 1494. At that time there was a former little church in Re that was dedicated to San Maurizio (St. Maurice). On the outside wall of the church there was a fresco that represented "La Madonna del Latte" - The Madonna breast-feeding -. Today the fresco (as well as the Sanctuary) is referred to as "La Madonna del Sangue" - The Madonna of the Blood -.
In 1494, a furious little boy that lost money playing with his friends, threw a stone against the outside wall of the church, where the painting had been frescoed before. The stone hit the image of the Madonna and later on people started seeing blood flowing down the Madonna's face for a few days. Quite soon an altar was built in front of the fresco and a century later a bigger church that incorporated the former one, was constructed to commemorate the miracle. That way the outside wall with the fresco that gave rise to the miracle became the altar of the latter church. Then, in 1922, the whole religious building was incorporated by a big modern Sanctuary. Behind the altar that protects the fresco is a tabernacle containing an ampoule that preserves some dried blood collected by local people in 1494.
In 1958 the Sancturay was awarded with the designation of Basilica Minore.
Travelling on the scenic Centovalli/Vigezzina train
is the best way to visit this valley (for further information please click on the following link: Domodossola and the scenic Centovalli / Vigezzina train to Locarno). Instead of visiting Domodossola, in the morning we take an earlier train from there and stop halfway at Re before getting to Locarno.
CLASSIC FULL-DAY ITINERARY
We get to Domodossola on the local train or by coach. We take the Centovalli / Vigezzina train.
We stop at the village of Re. Guided tour of the Basilica/Sanctuary of the Miracle.
We catch the Centovalli train and get to Locarno in Switzerland. Free time in Locarno for lunch (or in Re before departing). Visit to the town of Locarno and then coach or boat back to your lakeside resort.
For a description of Locarno, please refer to the following link: Cannobio and Locarno
A different itinerary may be designed, e.g., Vigezzo Valley in the morning and tour of Domodossola in the afternoon.
If you are a group and wish to have lunch together, you can arrange a fixed menu for a group lunch in advance (tailored to your taste and budget)