Shrine of Our Lady of LoretoThe city of Loreto (11,000 inhabitants) is a typical example of when a famous shrine generates an urban center and defines its characteristics and functions.
Consequently, the events of Loreto in the past centuries almost always coincided with those of his sanctuary.
From a gentle hill rises Loreto’s Basilica, a famous destination of numerous pilgrimages: Built in 1469 by the Bishop of Recanati, it is known to protect the Holy House, where the Virgin Mary was born and lived. The Holy Hose was moved here from Palestina after a Christian crusade.
Tradition has it that when the Crusaders were expelled from Palestine, a group of angels took her home, flying, first in Illyria, and then in the territory of Loreto, which is why Our Lady of Loreto is venerated as the "Patroness of Aviators." Archaeological studies confirm the origin of the house, both in style and construction materials used in the Holy Land at the time, unknown in the Marche territory; in addition, the size of the dwelling coincides perfectly with the "hole" left in Nazareth where it was before.
Today, according to newly discovered documents, the most likely hypothesis is that the stones of the Holy House were transported to Loreto by ship, on the initiative of the Angeli family; a recent document discovery dated this journey back to 1294. Architecturally, the interior of the Basilica is a Latin cross with three aisles. Beside the Holy House, the Loreto Basilica contains other masterpieces such as the bronze Baptistery by Tiburzio Vergelli and Pomarancio paintings on Church’s ceiling.
The dome was built by Giuliano da Sangallo, while the bell tower is a work of Luigi Vanvitelli.
The Holy House walls are enclosed by an artistic marble covering, one of the greatest masterpieces of Renaissance sculpture, designed by Donato Bramante.
Absolutely worthy of note is the miraculous Black Madonna statue, sculpted in 1922 by Leopold Celani, whose most notable feature is the dark face of the Virgin, common to most ancient icons.
The main Loreto’s festivities are September 8th, the the Nativity of Mary, and December 10th, the arrival of the Holy House in Loreto.