The sanctuary

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The Sanctuary of the Santissima Pietà, on the beautiful lakefront of Cannobio, on either side of which stands Il Portico, was built by the will of San Carlo Borromeo between 1575 and 1614 following the miraculous events of 1522, which occurred in the home of the family of Tommaso dei Zacchei; this kept in his house, hanging on the wall of a room, a picture depicting Christ emerging from the tomb with the Madonna and Saint John next to him, which was seen to fill with blood and tears. On the evening of 9 January, a small bone, the Sacra Costa, protruded from the side, similar to a rib proportionate to the body of Christ depicted in the picture.

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Today the picture and some blood-soaked cloths belonging to those who witnessed the events are kept in a niche of the main altar of the same Sanctuary, while the Sacra Costa is kept in a reliquary in the church of San Vittore.

The building with a single nave, with a rectangular apse and an elegant lantern houses a rich decoration dating back to the 17th century. XVII-XVIII: ranging from painting to stucco, to the use of polychrome marble. The most valuable and valuable work of art is certainly the altarpiece of the main altar, an oil on panel depicting the Ascent to Calvary, created by the famous Gaudenzio Ferrari around 1540.

Every year, on the evening of 7 / 8 January the anniversary celebration of the miracle is celebrated which involves the transport of the relic of the Sacra Costa from the parish church of San Vittore to the Sanctuary of the Santissima Pietà through a solemn procession illuminated by hundreds of candles, which over the years have replaced the Lümineri – paper balloons with a candle inside – displayed in the windows of houses, on the streets, on the boats that accompany the procession from the lake.

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On this occasion it is a tradition for Cannobiesi to consume in their own homes or in restaurants the typical dinner based on pasta and bean soup as the first course and luganighe sausage with boiled potatoes and sauerkraut as the second course.

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In this regard, here is a short text in Cannobiese dialect by Mons. Germano Zaccheo, year 1990:

“Lümineri e Lüganigh

La sira del sett genar as trovum al risturant “El Portich”

Per la sira di Lüminéri el “MENU” (cusa l’è ‘sta parulascia?) l’è ubligatori senza tanti smorbietà.

Us incumincia sübit con el PRIM: una bèla fundina de “boba” – inscì almen u sarèss prescritt – o, a discrezion del cögh, una bèla Pasta e Fasö, a la moda di Castelagn.

Per SEGOND u gh’è mia de scelta:LÜGANIGH (dò, tre, quater a seconda de cume vun l’è alt de ciel de boca …). Contorni? Patati less e crauti, volendo. E inscì u sarèss finid el disnà.

Ma de quand che in l’Usteria del Miracul u gh’è pü l’oste Tumas Zachéo, e l’è vegnü un “Chef” de via, i vo giontag là anche el “DESSERT”che l’è una roba dolza scrita in francés. Ma a mi um par che u sarèss mei un bel GRAPIN, de Grapa faia in ca’ magari, in barba a la … Finanza…

Ah! Una roba: prima bisogna lasà finì tucc i funziòn in Gésa.

Chi che u gà famm, u po’ fa un gir su per el Borgh e giù per la Gabèla, su la Mota, in Piazèta o a Castél a vedé i Lüminéri sui finester e i balcòn. Ai metum fora aposta per fai vedé a quei de Canöbi e ai furesté.”

hymn of the most holy piety


Particularly suggestive is the Feast of the Madonna del Rosario which is held every year on the first Sunday of October, which begins with the triduum of preparation and ends with the procession along the lake – Via Castello with the statue of the Madonna del Rosario, lowered for the occasion from altar in the Sanctuary.

The evening before, the Castello bonfire is traditional, on the beach at the lido