MONTÀ D’ALBA, Sanctuary of Pillars
The Santuario dei Piloni consists of different parts belonging to different eras, but represents the evolution of the devotion in this place, perhaps already frequented in Roman times. The discovery of fragments of Roman tiles supports the theory of the presence of a previous building; the pillars appeared much later in the climate of religious fervour that took place between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries when the typology of sacred mountains was spread. Despite the state of deep neglect that weighed on the building until the eighties, the sanctuary was the subject of a profound action of recovery and restoration that has made it one of the most popular places to visit in Roero.
The Church dedicated to Saints James and Philip
The main brick building that greets the faithful on their arrival is the church of Saints James and Philip. Despite the numerous changes, there are still fragments of the Romanesque period on the carved heads on the facade and in the terracotta elements along the side profiles. Over the centuries, the building has undergone numerous renovations that follow the various cycles of religious fervour of society: the most significant dates back to the seventeenth century when, after around thirty years of prohibition, a new architectural look was given to the church.
Grotto Of Agony
The Grotto of Agony was built in 1933 on the 19th anniversary of the Redemption. Situated in front of the Church of Saints James and Philip, it has an architectural structure that disagrees with the sanctuary. The layout of the building is rectangular and reproduces scenes of Christ in the olive garden, while there are Roman soldiers arriving in the background, led by Judas Iscariot. The statues and the scene are made of plaster.
It was the Franciscan friar Bernardino Caimi in 1494 who “invented” the Sacred Mountains, with the intent to reproduce the holy places with the Stations of the Cross in Piedmont. In the midst of this atmosphere of religious fervour, the Piloni (pillars) arose along a flat and steep path in Montà, leading to the temple of the Holy Sepulchre. Originally, the pillars were memorial stones with a niche that depicted an episode of the Passion. In 1887, the old pillars, whose ruins are still visible, were now in poor condition and were replaced with the current chapels designed by Placido Mossello of Montà. The new chapels are octagonal and covered by a dome with a central skylight. A front pronaos was also planned, but never built. Starting from 1889, the statues made by different plaster sculptors: Stefano Brilla of Savona, Antonio Taliano of Montà and the Musso brothers, established sculptors from Turin, were positioned.
The Temple of the Holy Sepulchre
The route of the Stations of the Cross ends at the temple of the Holy Sepulchre, with an octagonal layout and porch that forms a loop around the central body. It is said that a preaching monk on his way back from the Holy Land originally built the chapel. An inside cartouche above the entrance bears the date of the last work: 1775. Tradition has it that devotion was encouraged by a miraculous painting depicting the Blessed Virgin, which is no longer present. In order to recover the sanctuary, the statues were restored by the Nicola di Aramengo workshop of Asti with the contribution of the Canale-Roero Lions Club.
The Luminous Cross
On the hill in front of the building of the sanctuary, there is the luminous cross, inaugurated in 1956 in memory of the young men from the lands of Roero who had fallen in war.
Direction: Paolo Ansaldi
Post-Production: VDEA Produzioni
Translations: Europa 92
Copywriter and research: Laura Marino
ROTARY CLUB Canale Roero