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The Sanctuary of the Madonna of Tirano stands at the crossroads between Italy and Switzerland, in the city of Tirano. By virtue of its position it has always been the destination of the devoted from all over Europe.
The Apparition of Our Lady
According to tradition, at dawn on the 29th of September, 1504 Our Lady appeared to Mario Omodei and promised to end the plague, which at that time was raging in the Valtellina, if the people would build a church in her honor in that exact point. The residents of Tirano began the construction on March 25, 1505, and during a solemn ceremony that day, the first stone of the building was placed at the foot of the medieval church of Santa Perpetua, which is located on a rocky spur overlooking the piazza. In 1528, the basilica was officially consecrated.
The Altar of the Apparition and the organ
The Sanctuary, with three naves laid out in the form of a Latin cross, is certainly the best example of the Renaissance in the Valtellina. The exterior is quite simple and austere, and contrasts with the interior, which done in baroque style, is almost exuberant with its stucco and sculptures, among which is the colossal seventeenth century wooden organ (ca. 1600). At the heart of the Sanctuary, where Our Lady first appeared, now stands the Chapel of the Apparition. Above the altar is the wooden statue of the Virgin, and behind it, the place where Mary rested her feet, and where today, you can see the offerings (ex voto) of the devoted who come in pilgrimage.