Lake Maggiore - Santa Caterina del Sasso - The Hermitage

11 Nov

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The Church carved into the rock

This amazing masterpiece of history and religious art is located in Leggiuno, on the Lumbard side of the Lake Maggiore

Tradition holds that the Hermitage, one of the Lake Maggiore world famous jewels,  was founded by Alberto Besozzi, a wealthy local merchant who, having survived a storm while crossing the lake, decided to go into retreat on this part of the lake side, and conduct the life of a hermit. Here the Blessed Alberto ordered the construction of a chapel dedicated to Saint Catherine of Egypt and which is now visible in the lower part of the Church.

This chapel, dating back to the 12th century, was soon joined by another two churches: San Nicola and Santa Maria Nova, which definitely existed from the 14th century. After an early historical period, when the Dominicans took residence, from 1314 to 1645 the Hermitage was led by brothers from the Milan convent of Sant’Ambrogio ad Nemus, subsequently replaced by the Carmelites until 1770.

An important event took place at the beginning of the 18th century, when five enormous “ballerini” (“dancing”) boulders crashed down onto the Church, but came to a halt in the vault of a chapel, without causing any serious damage, and remaining suspended there for almost two centuries, until 1910.

These “traballanti” (“unsteady”) rocks would appear to have given the name to the Hermitage, the full name of which is Santa Caterina del Sasso Ballaro (Santa Maria of the Dancing Rock), although the more probable etymology of the name is associated with the nearby town of Ballarate.

The Hermitage has been the property of Varese Province since 1970. It was administered by a Dominican community from 1986 to 1996 but has now passed to the Benedictine oblates.

Lake Magiore –  Santa Caterina del Sasso

Opening hours for individual/group visits

FROM NOVEMBER 1st TO FEBRUARY 28th/29th
Open every Saturday, Sunday and non-working days from 9:00 to 12:00 and from 2:00pm to 5:00 pm

FROM DECEMBER 23rd TO JANUARY 6th
Everyday from 9:00 am to 12:00 am and from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

ALL THE MONTH OF MARCH
Everyday from 9:00 am to 12:00 am and from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

FROM APRIL 1st TO JUNE 14th
Everyday from 9:00 am to 12:00 am and from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

FROM JUNE 15th TO SEPTEMBER 15th
Everyday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm ( The Church will be closed from 12:00 am to 13:30 pm)

FROM SEPTEMBER 16th TO OCTOBER 31st
Everyday from 9:00 am to 12:00 am and from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

 

To the official webside

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