Framed by beech and chestnut forests, perched on one of the most scenic elevations in the Biella province, the Graglia Sanctuary has been a destination for spiritual pilgrimages for over four centuries. Were it not for its proximity to the even more popular Oropa, Graglia would perhaps be among the most popular destinations for religious tourism.
When work began in 1616, the intentions of architects, builders and patrons of this monumental work, dedicated to Our Lady of Loreto, were truly boundless. Aaround a main church, an imposing reception complex was to be built, flanked by a Sacro Monte consisting of over one hundred chapels. Much of the original design was never completed, yet the immense size of the dome of the sanctuary and the sensational geography of this place are undoubtedly worth a thorough diversions. In 1659, the votive chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Loreto was transformed into the present sanctuary. In the 1930s, the Madonna Garden was created, characterised by the splendid stone 'burnel' (fountain). The large church, with a Greek cross plan, is 42 metres long and 32 metres wide, and has a 38-metre high octagonal dome decorated with perspective effects by Fabrizio Galliari.
At an altitude of over 800 metres, the Graglia district also reveals a particularly unspoilt landscape: suffice it to say that one of Italy's finest mineral waters originates from a local spring.