In 2003 UNESCO placed "The Sacred Mounts of Piedmont and Lombardy" in the World Heritage list : This is a prestigious recognition given to the seven Sacred Mounts of Piedmont (Bielmonte, Crea, Domodossola, Ghiffa, Oropa, Orta e Varallo) and the two of Lombardy ( Ossuccio and Varese) and highlits the extraordinary beauty, richness and value of theses historic, artistic and natural jewels. These groups of chapels, set in beautiful surroundings, host statues, paintings and frescos and tell the stories and mysteries of the sacred life. They are prestigious examples of architectural landscaping, in fact they are the perfect meeting point between art and religion. The phenomenon of the Sacred Mounts started more than five hundred years ago around the western side of the Alps and became the inspiration for further models around Catholic Europe. In Piedmont the seven Sacred Mounts have been placed in a Protected Regional Area and therefore are well looked after, conserved and maintained. The Oropa Sacred Mount is located at 1200 meters above sea level, surrouded by the grand Alpine chain and is at a short distance from the town of Biella. This complex is considered to be the most followed by the marian cult in the Alps and for centuries has been a destination for pilgrims. Work on the Sacred Mount of Oropa started in 1617-1620 thanks to the monk Fedele da San Germano. Its construction coincided with the big renovation which the Savoia family made to this huge complex dedicated to the black madonna. The construction was financed by the population of Biella, the duke of Savoia and the small parish community of the area unlike other areas where wealthy and noble families used to bear the whole cost. The Sacred Mount is made up of twelve chapels dedicated to the life of the Virgin Mary. The original project proposed twenty chapels which would narrate the life and legends of the Virgin Mary through the sacred Scripture and Gospel. The most important fases of the construction were : during the first decades of the sixteen hundreds with the help of the d' Enrico team of plasterers from Valsesia , in the Seventeen hundreds with Bartolomeo Termine and Agostino Silvia and then with the plasterers of Carlo Francesco e Giuseppe Auregio and the painter Giovanni Galliari.

Destination: Provincia di Biella - Biella e Valle Oropa - Biella
Altitude: 1145.0 m.
Type: Art-Culture - Places of cult - Architecture - Arts and the Environment - Sacro Monte