Sanctuary of the Madonna of the Stone
Madonna del Sasso (Madonna of the Stone) is a small village with less than 500 inhabitants in the Verbano Cusio Ossola province, on the western shore of Lake Orta. The village was named after a Sanctuary constructed between 1730 and 1748 to replace an even older chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows following a miraculous event. The striking sanctuary overlooks the entire Cusio territory from atop a rocky outcrop, from whose caves miners extracted precious white granite from Alzo (Pella) until the beginning of the twentieth century. The splendid Baroque church seems truly balanced atop this very steep high ground.
The inside of the sanctuary with a central plan is exquisite and rich, with frescoes painted by Lorenzo Peracino, an artist who worked Valsesia but was born in Cellio (eighteenth century). Besides the frescoed decorations, you will also admire four large Peracino canvases that are sumptuously decorated in the late Baroque style.
A “Deposition” painting, dated 1547, hangs above the main altar. It was created by Fermo Stella of Caravaggio, who was both a student of and collaborator with Gaudenzio Ferrari. To the side of the Sanctuary you will find the contemporary hermit house, with a painting of the Peracino Virgin. The belfry dates back to 1760.