The Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of Castelmonte stands at an elevation of 618 meters in Castelmonte, a hamlet of Prepotto, close to the Julian Pre-Alps. The breathtaking view of the mountains and valley below is not the only reason to visit. Castelmonte is a place of great spirituality, a destination for pilgrimages, especially from Friuli Venezia Giulia, Veneto and neighboring Slovenia.
Inside the sanctuary you can admire the three naves and vault, frescoed by fine artists, the Baroque-style altars, the crypt and the famous statue of the Madonna and Child, and immerse yourself in the history and religious art of this place.
The shrine is the oldest in Friuli and was built on a stronghold erected to defend the population from barbarian invasions. The architecture of the place still has Roman, Gothic and Baroque elements.
The shrine has been a place of pilgrimage since the time of the Lombards. The faithful walk, sometimes barefoot, the road from Cividale, leaving crosses made from twigs at the Rosary capitals along the way.
The mountain, from its 618 meters above sea level, offers spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding valley, and the sanctuary has 3 viewing terraces.
The Sanctuary of Castelmonte is the oldest in Friuli and, in addition to being an important place of worship and spirituality in the region, documents the different eras and vicissitudes it has gone through. The earliest finds date back to late Roman times; the stronghold dates back to the barbarian invasions, and artifacts reach back to World War II. The countless frescoes and works of art from different periods testify to the great historical and artistic value of this place.
The solemn and majestic church consists of three naves and numerous side chapels decorated with frescoes and sculptures. On its walls are collected hundreds of votive offerings, moving testimonies left by the faithful in remembrance of grace received. Inside are important works, including: the High Altar from 1684, by Venetian masters; the fresco of the Virgin Mary, by Lorenzo Bianchini; and the altarpiece with St. Anthony and St. Vitus under the three angels, by Francesco Chiarottini.
The crypt of the shrine is a fascinating and evocative place; the well-known wooden group “St. Michael the Archangel Crushing the Devil” is located here.
The limestone statue of the Madonna of Castelmonte is also known as the Black Madonna, because of the dark color of her skin, or the Viva Madonna, because of the lively and maternal expression with which she was depicted. The holy image was laid in Castelmonte in the 15th century, after a fire devastated the shrine and burned the previous wooden statue. The Black Madonna has become an object of great religious devotion and is often associated with the protection and blessing of travelers.
The Colle della Croce is a natural park equipped with benches, from which you can enjoy an extraordinary view of Friuli. A large metal cross stands out on the hill as a reference for pilgrims. At night, the illumination of the cross makes it visible from miles away.
The cross is one of the most representative symbols of this locality. It is 12 meters high and 7 meters wide, weighing 27 quintals.
The park is a short walk from the parking lot and allows visitors to rest on benches or eat a picnic lunch.
The Sanctuary of Castelmonte can be reached by car from Cividale del Friuli, following the signs for Castelmonte.
At the base of the shrine is a large free parking lot, where you can leave your car and walk up a hundred meters or so. Alternatively, there is a smaller parking lot near the second entrance, which is further upstream from the main parking lot. The shrine is also served by the regular bus from Udine or Cividale.
Two religious goods stores, a bar/restaurant and the “Pilgrim’s House,” lodging with 12 rooms, are located at the shrine. On the northeast side there is an elevator reserved for those who cannot walk up.
The Castelmonte Sanctuary is open year-round from 07:30 to 18:00.
Mass times at the Castelmonte Shrine vary depending on the days of the week.
They are usually celebrated at the following times:
However, it is advisable to check the updated timetable on the sanctuary’s official website or at the tourist office in Cividale del Friuli.
Certainly, the shrine has always been a pilgrimage destination. The Pilgrim’s Path is about 7 km long and is marked by the 15 shrines depicting the mysteries of the Rosary.
Inside the village of Castelmonte is the “Pilgrim House,” where you can stay and have lunch. In the parking lot square, outside the walls, it is possible to have lunch at “Al Piazzale Restaurant.”
Through this section you can contact the Sanctuary of Castelmonte directly. Explorer FVG does not handle responses, nor is it responsible for the information exchanged in these conversations.
Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of Castelmonte
33040 Prepotto (UD)
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