About Madonna del Sasso
Available: all year round.
Swiss Travel Pass: FREE to the funicular station then 4 Sfr
Ticino Ticket: FREE to the funicular station then 5 Sfr
Half Fare Card: 5 Sfr from Ascona to the funicular station then 4 Sfr
A short funicular journey from Locarno brings you to this wooded rock with views of Lake Maggiore, which has been a site of pilgrimage since the 15th century. The sanctuary complex includes chapels and a small museum which is worth a visit for its atmosphere alone. A steep but interesting walk back to Locarno is a nice alternative to the funicular.
This historic funicular runs between the town and the sanctuary every 15 minutes. The journey takes about 14 minutes. You can take a steep walk up and/or down the mountain but at least one trip on the funicular is a delightful experience.
According to tradition, the sanctuary was founded following the miraculous apparition of the Virgin to Fra Bartolomeo Piatti on the eve of the Assumption festival in 1480.
The Sacred Mount Madonna del Sasso in Orselina is one of the most important religious and historical sites in the canton of Ticino. Today the complex consists of the Church of the Annunciation at the foot of the mountain, the Via Crucis and the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Sasso. It is possible to hear mass on most days.
Don't miss the large square with views over the valley and the portico next to the church has fantastic views over Locarno and the lake.
Artistic and religious works
A visit to the complex showcases some lovely art. In addition to the late fifteenth-century image of the Madonna and Child, the sanctuary contains 17th century stuccos and works by artists such as Bernardino de Conti, Bramantino and Antonio Ciseri. There are also interesting renaissance wooden statuary groups.
The museum is open April-October daily except Mondays.
The sanctuary is very close to the base station for the cable car up to Cardada, which offers fabulous views over the lake and some scenic walks. From Cardada, you can ascend even higher on another chairlift to Cimetta.
The funicular base station is close to Locarno's main rail station. You can also climb the sacred mountain on foot - it takes around half an hour to reach the sanctuary.
Please note the funicular will be closed 19 Nov-7 Dec 2018.