Science & Culture

Sacri Monti/Sacromontes/Sacred Mountains

The phenomenon of Sacri Monti began at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries with the goal of creating places of prayer in Europe as an alternative to the Holy Land (Jerusalem and Palestine). At that time, access to the Holy Land had become very difficult for pilgrims owing to the rapid expansion of Muslim culture.  This phenomenon took root especially after the Council of Trent when the Church adopted the additional role of combating the influence of the Protestant Reformation.  
Each “sacro monte” began with certain fundamental rules and standards for typology and architectural style but evolved with their own unique art and architecture. Each has a distinct theme or role. At Orta, the complex is dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi with 21 chapels and a garden in a layout essentially unchanged since the 16th century. This was a Sacred Mountain built by the The Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (Latin: Ordo Fratrum Minorum Capuccinorum; postnominal abbr. O.F.M.Cap.)