Santuario della Madonna del Lourdes (Chiesa di San Prospero di Campeggio)

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Mountain shrines on the traces of medieval pilgrims

Posted on 13 December 2023

Santuario della Madonna del Lourdes (Chiesa di San Prospero di Campeggio)

Retracing the roads and destinations of medieval pilgrims in the twenty-first century. This is the "suggestion" proposed by this itinerary, in three stages, that winds along a portion of the Bolognese Apennines, between Loiano and Monghidoro, along the Via Mater Dei. A path particularly rich in shrines of discreet charm, which characterizes some of the places on the mountain. The mountain of the Marian cult that, typically, is expressed in small and simple architectures that convey even to the modern "wayfarer" a sense of peace and intense spirituality.

Sanctuary of the Madonna dei boschi

In less than an hour's drive from Bologna, you will reach the town of Loiano and, crossing a landscape of oak, beech and chestnut trees, taking the ridge towards Monghidoro you will reach the Sanctuary of Santa Maria dei boschi. Surrounded by vegetation, the building stands on the remains of an ancient little church founded in 1616 called Beata Vergine del Nuvoleto or Bocca di Nugoletto. Sober on the outside, surprising as soon as you cross the entrance is the variety and beauty of the artwork, some by sculptor Antonio Gambarini. In particular the icon of the Blessed Virgin and Child that dominates the high altar. The building's cultic activity is taken care of by a community of Franciscan Friars, and arriving early in the morning (and consulting the schedule first) it is possible to participate in a very atmospheric Latin celebration.

Shrine of Madonna di Lourdes

With the second stage, proceeding to the nearby town of Campeggio, we reach the shrine of Madonna di Lourdes (also known as "Church of San Prospero di Campeggio"). Although the first certain records date back to 1223, the origin of the place is very ancient. The dedication to the Madonna di Lourdes is owed to a right side chapel of the church named after St. Prospero, where the grotto of Massabielle in Lourdes, France, is reproduced life-size, depicting the Blessed Immaculate Virgin with Bernadette at her feet and the little stream that recalls the miraculous spring. The remarkable work was made in the early 1900s by artisan Ravasio Guelfo. Through a passage behind the rock it is possible to approach the statue of the Madonna. The church's bell tower dates back to the early 1700s while the present religious building is from the late 1800s.

Shrine of Madonna del Rosario di Pompei

About three kilometers away from Monghidoro, in the center of the charming village of Piamaggio, among stone houses and taverns, stands the Shrine of Madonna del Rosario di Pompei at an altitude of about 800 meters. Before the present building, around 1600 there was a small oratory dedicated to San Francesco di Paola and later to San Lorenzo martyr. The church was built in 1893 at the behest of Monsignor Giuseppe Fanti, who then decided to place the image of the Madonna di Pompei inside to promote the devotion of the Holy Rosary. Later the Bolognese painter Sante Nucci was called in to paint the image of the Blessed Virgin, and the small paintings of the 15 Mysteries of the Rosary were purchased, framing it to fine effect. A few years later the small stone portico on the facade was built, and in the following decades the shrine became a pilgrimage destination for pilgrims from Bologna and Tuscany.

Duration: 24 hours

Interest: Art & Culture

Audience: Family/friends-single/couple