In 1596 a charming natural dale, surrounded by the beautiful hills which are the result of the meeting between the lower slopes of the Maritime Alps towards the south-east together with the first slopes of the magical “Langhe”, became one of the favourite destinations for Marian pilgrimages from all over Europe.
This enormous flow of people did not escape the notice of the Bishop of Mondovi’ nor of the Savoia family, who resolved on making a urbanistic arranging of the valley both to add lustre to their name and to meet the inevitable requirements of providing accommodation.
This is the origin of that architectural and urbanistic jewel formed by the Basilica, the Monastery, the church square with its gardens and fountains and bordered by the Colonnade Palace. Five sides of an imaginary irregular octagon that surrounds the whole area and the sacred buildings creating an atmosphere of respect which favours the mystical concentration of the believers and the secular concentration of the tourists interested in art and culture.