From Orta San Giulio and most parts of the eastern side of Lake Orta you can see on the opposite side a white, isolated sanctuary, literally placed on the edge of a steep stone crag: it’s the Sanctuary of the “Madonna del Sasso” (Virgin of the Rock), which belongs to the homonymous Municipality (around 650 m. a.s.l.).
It’s one of the local sites most visited by tourists and locals; you can reach it by car from San Maurizio d’Opaglio or Alzo di Pella, or alternatively on foot along a pleasant track called The Stonemasons’ Way (Sentiero degli Scalpellini) where quarrymen and stonemasons were engaged for decades in the huge quarry, internationally famous for its precious white granite. The activity lasted for around a hundred years until the 1950s.
The church (limited opening times) was built around 1750 and has very elegant and richly decorated interiors according to the late baroque taste. The views you enjoy from the huge terrace in front of the church are quite breathtaking: you can really enjoy and appreciate the whole lake area with its verdant hills and, on clear days, you’ll admire on the right a full stretch of the Po Valley gently sloping towards Milan and its high buildings! A unique, unforgettable panoramic site that’s worth visiting even for a few minutes!
Right behind the church you’ll have the chance to have a pleasant picnic in the shade of leafy trees or get something to drink or eat at the kiosk nearby!
Large coaches can’t reach the sanctuary but we’ll be able to arrange your tour in the best way possible (2017: a super-panoramic journey to the site on a new tourist train will be available!).