Enchanting places, oases of peace, timeless paths. Liguria offers a rich overview of places of faith and religious itineraries, which in recent years have gained a boom of attention from tourists. Liguria, land of faith, is also the land where devotion is at the center of grand events, evocative, blending folklore and religiosity.

Liguria, the Places of the Sacred, Flower Riviera

In Imperia, besides the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montegrazie, known for its large cycles of painted murals, you can also retrace the Leonardo da Vinci's Way of the Cross uphill at the Sanctuary of Monte Calvario, a seventeenth-century foundation linked to an adventurous mission in the Holy Land. In San Bartolomeo al Mare, the Sanctuary of Madonna della Rovere can be reached with a short walk. In the area of Sanremo, in Riva Ligure, there is the Sanctuary of Madonna del Buon Consiglio, an idyllic medieval building. In Taggia, there is the parish church of Saints James and Philip and the Sanctuary of the Miraculous Madonna, but above all, the Dominican convent, a stronghold of Faith for the Argentine Valley and beyond. In Bussana, there is the Sanctuary of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which includes artworks by some of the most significant artists from Northern Italy of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In Sanremo, there is the Sanctuary of Madonna della Costa, with its spectacular view, and the Carmelo di Sanremo (a cloistered convent on the hills of the city). The historic center of Ventimiglia is rich in religious buildings and monuments: the cathedral, the church of San Michele; towering above is the Sanctuary of Madonna dell'Aria Aperta, a place of spectacular panorama and an invitation to encounter with the Creator. A true gem in the museum village of Pigna is the church of San Michele, which houses the fantastic monumental altarpiece painted and signed by Giovanni Canavesio. The same artist is featured with his works in the small church of San Bernardo, surrounded by cultivated olive groves.

Liguria, the Places of the Sacred, Palm Riviera

The Sanctuary of Mercy on the hills of Savona and the Oratories of the city with the processional "cases" of Good Friday are among the most well-known places of faith in the Riviera delle Palme. Similarly, the Abbey of Santa Maria di Finale Ligure, where monastic life is still intense and where guests are welcomed by the Benedictines. In the shop at the entrance of the Monastery, you can buy products from the famous apiary active since 1920: honey, royal jelly, propolis, and honey creams. Those who follow the itinerary leading to the Hermitage of the Desert in the Beigua Park, in the Municipality of Varazze, find themselves catapulted into the past: it is a seventeenth-century convent of the Carmelite fathers, rich in testimonies of faith and works of art. The building dates back to around 1615 and is the first Italian Carmelite hermitage. All around, there is a suggestive botanical path of extraordinary naturalistic value that extends for almost three kilometers. In Toirano, there is the Sanctuary of Santa Lucia, and in Albenga, a city rich in religious monuments, there is the paleo-Christian Baptistery of the 5th century, which is the oldest standing building in Liguria as well as one of the best-preserved baptisteries in Italy.

Genoa and Surroundings

Genoa, like all great Italian art cities, holds much of its treasures in its churches, often built in the ancient city. The devotional journey, however, starts from the hill: with the Sanctuary of Madonna della Guardia, perhaps the most beloved place of devotion for the Genoese: it overlooks the Val Polcevera and is a place full of charm. Similarly, the Sanctuary of the Infant Jesus of Prague in Arenzano and the Sanctuary of Acquasanta are oases of tranquility, with the latter now benefiting from the reopening of the nearby thermal baths. In the city of Genoa, among the narrow streets, stands the ancient medieval cathedral of San Siro, which houses treasures from Piola to Orazio Gentileschi, along with San Donato with the fantastic triptych by Joos van Cleve and San Luca with the masterpieces of Grechetto, erected in 1188. The symbol of the city itself is the church of San Matteo in the homonymous square, the heart of the possessions of the Doria family. Majestic and worth seeing is the Cathedral of San Lorenzo with the adjacent cloister of the Canons: countless works of art are contained within, including the Treasure of the Museum with the Basin by Giovanni Battista. A short distance away is the church of Gesù with works by Rubens, Guido Reni, Domenico Fiasella, Domenico Piola, and many others. In Genoa, one of the most fascinating relics is kept: the Holy Mandylion in the church of San Bartolomeo degli Armeni. From Genoa also starts the Path of the Sanctuaries of the Sea, which connects Our Lady of Gazzo, Our Lady of the Guard, the Abbey of Tiglieto, the Sanctuary of the Holy Infant of Prague, Santa Maria delle Grazie, Our Lady of Acquasanta, the churches of the historic center of Genoa, and the Cathedral of San Lorenzo.

Liguria, the Places of the Sacred, Tigullio and Portofino

The postcard of Liguria, one of the most photographed places in the world, the very symbol of the relationship between faith and territory, is the Abbey of San Fruttuoso di Camogli, for centuries an "island" of faith reachable today by sea or following a unique itinerary. From the Church of San Rocco, above Camogli, take the downhill path indicated towards Punta Chiappa to reach the complex of San Nicolò di Capodimonte. From here, take the path towards "San Fruttuoso" and continue descending until you reach the Abbey, dedicated to the Christian martyr San Fruttuoso. Today, the Abbey is owned by the Italian National Trust (FAI) and is a spectacular place visited by thousands of tourists. In the eastern part of Genoa, there are also many religious sites worth visiting: the 12th-century basilica of San Salvatore dei Fieschi, entirely built in slate, from which an itinerary of great interest, the "Via dell'Ardesia" (Slate Route), starts. Unmissable and full of charm is the panorama enjoyed from the Sanctuary of Montallegro in Rapallo: a place of worship frequented throughout the year. Along the road between Santa Margherita and Portofino, there is the fantastic Abbey of San Gerolamo della Cervara. Recently restored and reopened to the public is the church of San Sebastiano: a place of peace overlooking the Piazzetta of Portofino.

5 Terre and Gulf of Poets

The Cinque Terre, with their preservation over the centuries, are the very symbol of a religiosity that becomes culture, tourism, and hiking. There are five churches connected to their respective villages by steep mule tracks, forming a historic itinerary that can be traveled on foot, horseback, or by bicycle, crossing terraced lands, gardens, ancient farmhouses, small often abandoned inhabited nuclei, and offering incomparable views. The mid-level path that connects these places of worship is a true trekking experience that offers encounters with history and breathtaking views. The itinerary that climbs from Riomaggiore to the Sanctuary of Montenero coincides with the ancient path leading to Portovenere. From here, among ridges and valleys descending the coast, you can reach the medieval village of Volastra and the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Health; then, passing the ridge above Corniglia, the view opens up to the Sanctuary of San Bernardino. A beautiful mid-level path crosses the Rio di Vernazza and leads to the Sanctuary of Madonna di Reggio. Returning to the asphalt road, continue on the path that cuts through the steep slopes along the coast between Vernazza and Monterosso, crossing the Fosso Molinaro and climbing to the road coming from Pignone. After about a kilometer, you will reach the Sanctuary of Madonna di Soviore: a corner of paradise overlooking the sea. In Portovenere, you cannot miss visiting the church of San Pietro, one of the most photographed places of worship in the world: built in Romanesque style by the famous company of the Antelami Masters, it was consecrated in 1130. In La Spezia, the sanctuary of Madonna dell'Olmo is the most important Marian religious monument. Ideal for a visit in meditation and prayer.

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