VINADIO, Sanctuary of Sant’Anna
The Sanctuary of Sant’Anna di Vinadio, with its 2035 metres above sea level, is considered the highest in Europe. A hospice for travellers already existed in the Middle Ages in this place, located on the border with France, and perhaps looked after by a hermit, who would then go by the name of “randiere”. In 1307, we already have news of a chapel called “Santa Maria di Brasca”, which was then dedicated to Saint Anne in the mid fifteenth century. The hastening of numerous believers and the devotion of the Savoy dynasty led to the construction of a large new church in 1680, then partly reconstructed to repair damage caused by fires, wars and the weather. The reception areas and the large porch that surrounds the church are works of the nineteenth century. The church has three naves inside it, with vaults built in 1870 to replace the wooden trussed roof. The floor is characteristic as it slopes because of the underlying rock. The presbytery is closed by a strong gate with the crest of Vinadio on it.
Devotion to Sant’Anna
The two main poles of devotion are the great statue of Saint Anne with Mary located on the front of the presbytery, surrounded by an elegant canopy, and the silver arm reliquary. Made by a Piedmontese silversmith in the eighteenth century, the arm has refined chiselled decoration; the base was added in 1939 and was a gift from the Canon Riberi.
The Seventeenth Century Canvas Painting
Behind the high altar stands the canvas depicting St. Anne, Mary and baby Jesus; the group is surrounded by medallions with scenes of the life of the saint, in the typical style of the seventeenth century. As can be read in the inscription in the lower register, the work was created by the Roman painter Michelangelo Cerruti in 1686, so, a few years after the construction of the new church. It is interesting to note that baby Jesus is holding a bunch of grapes in his hands, which clearly refers to the crest of the municipality of Vinadio.
The sanctuary walls are almost completely covered with votive offerings of the past and present, which show the perpetuation of devotion towards St. Anne in the requests for healing or gratitude for lucky escapes or for new births.
Direction: Paolo Ansaldi
Post-Production: VDEA Produzioni
Translations: Europa 92
Copywriter and research: Laura Marino
ROTARY CLUB Cuneo 1925
Don Beppe Panero