Santuario della Madonna di Montenero

Top choice in Livorno

The story goes like this: in 1345, the Virgin Mary appeared to a shepherd, who led her to monte nero (black mountain), a haven of brigands. Needless to say, the brigands immediately saw the error of their ways and built a chapel on the mountain. Soon pilgrims arrived and the chapel was extended in stages; it reached its present form in 1774. Rooms and corridors surrounding the church house a fascinating collection of 20,000 historic ex-votos thanking the Virgin for miracles.

The best time to visit is on 8 September, for the Festa della Madonna. To get here by public transport, take the LAM Rosso bus to Montenero (€1.50 or €2 on board, every 10 to 20 minutes) and get off at the last stop on Piazza delle Carrozze in Montenero Basso. From there, take the historic funicular (€2, every 10 to 20 minutes) up to the sanctuary.

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