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Loreto, Province of Ancona, Marche

Loreto is located on the right bank of the Musone river, on top of a gentle hill surrounded by olive trees, with wonderful views from the Apennines to the Adriatic. It is a world-famous destination for religious pilgrimage thanks to the presence of the "Casa Santa". The town's profile is dominated by the dome and belltower of the Basilica, on top of which is a statue of the Virgin Mary.

Info

  • Altitude: 127 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 12,000 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 60025
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 071
  • Patron Saint: Nativity of the Virgin Mary, celebrated on 8 september
  • Frazioni & Localities: Archi, Costabianca, Grotte, Villa Musone

History

The town rose around the Holy House, which according to the legend was brought by angels in one night to Italy to save it from destruction when Nazareth was going to be conquered by the Muslims. It is because of this legend that the Madonna di Loreto was proclaimed the patron of aviators by Pope Benedict XV on 24 march 1920. Actually historical sources seem to point as the authors of the translation to prince Angeli Comneno, of the imperial family of Costantinople, who in 1291 ordered the house to be carried away from Nazareth. It was brought first to Dalmatia, where for three years was kept at Tersatto, near Fiume (today's Rijeka) in Croatia, and arrived in Loreto only in 1294.

What to see

  • All the main monuments occupy the four sides of the piazza where the sanctuary is situated: the college of the Jesuits, the Palazzo Comunale (formerly the Palazzo Apostolico), designed by Bramante, with an art gallery with works of Lorenzo Lotto, Vouet and Caracci as well as a collection of majolica, and the basilica of the Holy House (Santuario della Casa Santa). more information on the Sanctuary of the Holy House of Loreto.