What it is and where it is
The Sanctuary of Oropa juts out toward the plateau of Sacro Monte with a long colonnade of porticoes, which seem to be put there, ready to welcome incoming pilgrims, visitors and hikers as if in an embrace. Oropa can be reached comfortably by car or bus from Biella, but alternatively one can make the journey on foot or leave from Santhià (Vercelli) and walk a section of the Via Francigena in four days. Tradition has it that the people of Biella make the climb up to the shrine once a year; others would only need to do it at least once in their lives.
Why it is special
Oropa is an evocative destination, not only for those who come here to take refuge in prayer, but also for those who simply have the desire to regenerate a little. In an intimate and cozy atmosphere. The special feature, in fact, is that this is indeed a well-equipped tourist place, but still manages to retain a spiritual and authentic soul.
Not to be missed
The advice to fully experience the pilgrim atmosphere is to stay at least one night in the guesthouse adjacent to the shrine. What will remain indelible in your mind and heart, however, is the hike to the top of Mount Camino, at 2400 meters above sea level. It's best to take the cable car that departs near the parking lot of the Chiesa Nuova, descend to Oropa Sport (1870 meters above sea level), and walk up the last section of the D21 trail, through pebbles, dirt and grassy sections. Although it is often shrouded in clouds, the view of the Alps from Mt. Camino is exceptional and you will feel like you are flying. At the top, in addition to the view, there is also a hut that will be able to give you refreshment.
Despite being the symbol of Oropa, the construction of the so-called New Church has been and still is troubled: the work that began in 1885 is still not finished, and even though the church was opened and consecrated in 1960, stones and bricks can still be seen here and there.
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