An excursion to the suggestive Sanctuary
of Montenero represents
the perfect completion to a visit to Livorno. We start from the centre of Montenero, a delightful village surrounded by greenery, situated on a hill overlooking the sea and the port. From here, we recommend the characteristic funicular up to the top of the hill. The view of Livorno is spectacular and the panorama, which, on a clear day, includes the entire north coast as far as La Spezia, is breathtaking.
The Montenero Sanctuary originates from an image of the Madonna that, according to legend, was picked up by a poor shepherd at the foot of the hill in 1345. The shepherd carried the image to the top of the hill and was cured of a serious illness. The image was taken over by some hermits who placed it in a small oratory.
The fame of the miraculous image gradually spread throughout the Mediterranean and, in 1455, the Jesuit Fathers decided to found the Sanctuary. In 1792, the Sanctuary was entrusted to the Vallombrosian Benedictine monks, who are currently its custodians.
As well as being a place of faith, the Sanctuary is also a fascinating journey through art and history. The gallery of ex-votos, a moving testimony of the graces received, is among the richest in Italy. Inside, the sumptuous Baroque furnishings, the richness of the polychrome marble and the marvellous wooden ceiling make the Sanctuary a must for art lovers.
The Galleria dei Comuni, which displays the coats of arms donated by the municipal councils of Tuscany after the proclamation of the Madonna di Montenero as the region’s main patron saint, will not disappoint history buffs.
The right side is lined with an open gallery, under which illustrious Leghorn citizens, including Guerrazzi and Giovanni Fattori, are buried.