The Basilica of Loreto is one of the main attractions of the Conero Riviera, able to attract a large number of pilgrims every year, thanks to the presence of the house of the Virgin of Nazareth inside.
Tradition has it that the Holy House of Mary was transported to the Marche from Nazareth by angels in flight. Historical studies endorsed by the aid of modern scientific techniques, confirmed the Palestinian origin of the stones of the Holy House, and their identical craftsmanship and composition than those that remain in the original place. The transport was made probably by ship to the shores of the Marche, around 1291, thanks to the Angeli (angels) family that ruled Epirus, a region on the border between Albania and Greece. In 1294, the house finally found a resting place on the top of a hill full of laurel trees (hence the name Colle Lauro and that of Loreto), along the road that leads to the sea from Recanati.
To make the environment more suitable for worshipping, in 1507 Pope Julius II commissioned to Bramante the project for the marble facing of the Holy House, which will be then accomplished by renowned artists of the Italian Renaissance. It is a work of art of great craftsmanship, that will leave you breathless: a real treasure chest that contains the Holy House of Mary.
In order to protect the Holy House and accommodate the ever-increasing number of pilgrims, in 1468 work began on the construction of the Basilica, which will conclude in 1587 with the completion of the facade in late-Renaissance style. The three bronze doors, made during the last decade of the seventeenth century, are of particular artistic significance as well as the bell tower, designed by renowned architect Luigi Vanvitelli and which houses nine bells, the largest of which measures 184 cm in diameter and weighs about 7 tons.
The Basilica and Shrine of the Holy House of Loreto is one of the most famous pilgrimage destinations in Italy. Its location, in the center of the beautiful town of Loreto, makes it a strategic point to continue the visit to this place.
Every year a very striking pilgrimage to the Sanctuary starts from Macerata in the night. The many pilgrims, from all over the world, walk along 26 km of road, repeating songs and prayers.
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