Brianza basilicas and churches: Beata Vergine Del Carmelo Sanctuary of Montevecchia
Brianza, history of landscapes and culture
Among the churches of Brianza, the Beata Vergine del Carmelo Sanctuary, is the most evocative due to its position at the top of the Montevecchia, hill which can be reached by climbing a 180-step stairway up to the churchyard from which the beautiful landscape can be admired.
From here, you feel as if you can see the whole of Brianza, you can even see some peaks of the Alpine chain, such as Adamello, Bernina, Monte Rosa and Mont Blanc.
The climb towards the Montevecchia Sanctuary
The long stairway is intersected by a path that surrounds the whole hill; it is called “Via Crucis”, as, along the perimeter, there are sixteen eighteenth-century sandstone shrines with sculptures representing scenes of the Passion of Christ. The shadow of cypresses, lindens and privet trees accompanies visitors along the climb.
Having reached the top of the hill, you will be amazed by the splendid landscape of Brianza, while the impressive architectural complex of the sanctuary welcomes guests with its evocative portico that precedes the entrance. It is divided into three spans with cross vaults supported by granite columns.
Beata Vergine del Carmelo Sanctuary
Chapels of the Montevecchia Sanctuary
The Beata Vergine del Carmelo Sanctuary, built in the seventeenth-century, has a Latin cross plan with single nave divided by arches with three centres and split into five spans covered by cross vaults.
Opening onto the nave, on one side, are four chapels dedicated to San Francesco, Sant’Antonio, San Carlo della Confraternita and San Bernardo. From the other side of the nave, there is just one chapel dedicated to San Giovanni Battista Decollato.
Among these, particularly characteristic is that of San Carlo, which resembles a small sanctuary where the image of the saint, to which it is dedicated, is found on an old canvas on the wall of the apse, behind a rich Baroque canopy, in carved, gilded wood, used to carry the statue of the Madonna in procession. On the vault is a painting of a fresco depicting “The Sacrifice of Abraham”, an episode narrated by the Old Testament.
The presbytery and the organ of the Montevecchia Sanctuary
At the back of the nave, the presbytery, with a square plan, is covered by a cross vault and the apse is illuminated by large windows. On the main altar there is the effigy venerated in this Sanctuary: the seventeenth-century wooden statue of the “Virgin with Child”. At the sides of the presbytery, there are two frescoes representing the “Collection of the manna” and “the Last Supper”.
Other frescoes adorn the nave, depicting scenes from the life of Jesus, such as the Nativity and the Crucifixion which are attributed to the painter Pietro Gariboldi.
Of particular prestige is the organ located in the entrance hall with mechanical transmission. This dates back to the late eighteenth-century, a work by Eugenio Biroldi. It was restored in the late eighties of the last century; it resumed playing in 1990.
Visiting the Montevecchia Sanctuary is an opportunity not to be missed to admire one of the most fascinating cultural locations in Brianza, symbol of the local history and landscape.