One of the most spectacular sacred places of
Lake Orta is surely the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Rock (Madonna del Sasso) built near
the hamlet of the same name on a huge granite rock-face overhanging the lake below. From
here, there is an unsurpassed view dominating Lake Orta and the mountains on the eastern
shore of the lake, including Mount Mottarone.
This sacred complex, built in the early 1700s, on the site
of a previous late medieval chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows, is made up of the
church, the bell-tower and the Priests House. The church, shaped like a Greek cross
with circular apse is topped by a huge frescoed dome which projects an inlaid star onto
the floor. The interior also houses a large pictorial cycle by Lorenzo Peracino, a painter
and sculptor from Valsesia, who left evidence of his great talent in numerous churches in
the Cusio and Ossola area.