Sanctuary of Oropa

The Sanctuary between sky and earth


Dedicated to the Black Mary, the Sanctuary of Oropa in Biella is situated at less than fifteen kilometres from the city, in the heart of a vast and unique natural reserve. The Sanctuary is a great source of attraction for pilgrims from all over the world, as well as non-religious tourists who are interested to its historical, cultural and natural value or simply to the typical delicious cuisine.  


The history of the Sanctuary of Oropa was recognized as Heritage of Humanity in 2003 from Unesco and dates back to Sant’Eusebio to subsequently unfold and develop through the following centuries up to the current shape and dimensions.
The overall complex includes the Old Cathedral that preserves the sacred statue of the Black Mary which is object of popular devotion for pilgrims starting in the middle ages, the Sacred Mount with its twelve chapels and natural-sized terracotta statues, the Monumental Cemetery and the Modern Church.    

The opening hours of the Sanctuary of Oropa vary according to the religious functions carried out during the day, alternatively you may want to access the treasures museum , that preserves at its interior the relics and golds that have made the fortune of the Sanctuary and that permits the access also to the apartments destined to the House of Savoy.


Situated at twenty minutes away from Biella, the Sanctuary of Oropa is also the starting point of the cableway that since 1926 permits to reach the Lake of Mucrone at almost 2000 metres of altitude. Here you may enjoy the Rosazza Refuge, a very appreciated destination from excursionists during the hot months in summer season for its mountain bike trails and hiking routes.  

During the winter season the cableway permits to reach the Sanctuary of Oropa in a district called Oropa Sport with slopes for cross-country skiing as well as downhill slopes. Behind the Sanctuary it is possible to enjoy the Avventura Park with Tibetan bridges, lianas and rope ladders that are very much appreciated from children as well.


Besides the impressive staircase that opens from the top of the Sacred Square, the gaze plunges into the Upper Basilica, a construction of monumental proportions that finds itself in an harmonious relationship with the neighbouring high mountains and in slight contrast with the spiritual and collective dimension of the Old Cathedral.

Considering the great number of pilgrims that would once head in procession to the Sanctuary, the need to build a New Church was perceived since the XVII century, and coincides with the time when the discussion of the realization of the project took place. Laid the first stone in 1885, the works proceeded with much difficulty through two world wars until 1960.

Visit our Santuary of Oropa and discover all the activities!