Passion Play on the Sacred Mountain : Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy

Varallo Sesia is a small town in northern Italy. Sacro Monte towers above it is one of the Sacred Mountains. A monk, in the 15th century, made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and decided to create a pilgrimage site, or New Jerusalem. Many chapels were built on the mountain.

Each one represents a scene from the Bible. The sculptures initially were simple wooden carvings/ Sacro Monte changed significantly in the 16th Century when the artist Gaudenzio Ferrari and his students worked at the site.

Life-sized sculptures and fresco paintings were skilfully combined
to portray Jesus’ life. Visitors to the chapels see each step
of Jesus’ life in sequence. They conjure up the events and suffering of Christs Passion.

The background frescoes and the sculptures in the foreground create tension and drama. Sacro Monte of Varallo Sesia is a sacred mountain where people can experience Jesus’ life from his birth to his resurrection in the form of a pilgrimage.

Sign up to get a Weekly Email from

* indicates required

medievalverse magazine