The Sacro Monte di Varese (literally ‘Sacred Mount of Varese’) is one of the nine sacri monti in the Italian regions of Lombardy and Piedmont which were inscribed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. It has an altitude of 807 metres above sea-level.
The Sacro Monte of Varese is located a few kilometers from the city and nestled in the regional park Campo dei Fiori. It consists of the Holy Road and the Sanctuary, as well as the small medieval village surrounding the Sanctuary. The Holy Road with its 14 chapels, rise up the mountain to the little village of Santa Maria del Monte and it ends with the Sanctuary (15th chapel) dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The rise is 2 kilometers along on a pebbly path, and every chapel represents one of the Mysteries of Jesus Christ’s life. You can find at the mountaintop the Sanctuary, the Cloister of Monache Romite Ambrosiane, The Museo Baroffio e del Santuario, the Casa Museo Lodovico Pogliaghi, the permanent nativity scene, and different restaurants, bars, a pizzeria, three hotels and a bed & breakfast.
The recently restored Vellone-Sacro Monte funicular operates between a parking lot at the first chapel 'Prima Cappella' and the top of Sacro Monte on Saturdays and Sundays throughout most of the year.References:
Castel del Monte, located in the municipality of Andria, rises on a rocky hill dominating the surrounding countryside of the Murgia region. A unique piece of medieval architecture, it was completed in 1240. The castle’s location, its perfect octagonal shape, as well as the mathematical and astronomical precision of its layout all reflect the broad education and cultural vision of its founder, Emperor Frederick II.
As a leader of modern humanism, the Germanic Emperor brought scholars together in his court from throughout the Mediterranean, combining Eastern and Western traditions. The castle’s unique design, an octagonal plan with octagonal towers at each angle, represents a search for perfection. Interior features reflect Eastern influences, such as the innovative hydraulic installation used by Frederick II for bathing in accord to the typical Arabic customs.
The site is of outstanding universal value in its formal perfection and its harmonious blending of cultural elements from northern Europe, the Muslim world and classical antiquity. Castel del Monte is a unique masterpiece of medieval architecture, reflecting the humanist ideas of its founder, Frederick II of Hohenstaufen.