Basilica e Sacro Monte di Crea
The Sacro Monte (Holy Mountain) of Crea comprises the Sanctuary, 23 chapels, 5 hermitages and stands on a place of ancient Marian worship. It was built between 1589 and 1612, with a further construction phase in the 1920s. The basilica sanctuary of Romanesque origin was altered several times over the centuries: the façade is Baroque, while the interior with three naves preserves the antique layout, though embellished with various decorations of a later time. The interior preserves important works which include the autographed panel by Macrino d’Alba dated 1503 dedicated to the Madonna with Child and Saints, the cycle of frescoes with the Stories of Saint Margaret of Antioch of the 15th century, the Wooden Statue of the Virgin of the 14th century and the bas-reliefs on the pilasters depicting Solomon's knots, plant motifs and two winged griffons with stars that date to the 12th century. The 23 chapels are the result of two construction phases: one dating to the 16th and 17th centuries, the other to the 19th century. The oldest phase is distinguished by complex statues in polychrome terracotta, almost all the work of the Flemish Giovanni and Nicola De Wespin, known as the Tabacchetti, while the frescoes are attributed for the most part to Giorgio Alberini, follower of Moncalvo. The second phase is marked by much simpler statues in stucco or plaster and paintings by Brilla, Maggi, Latini, Capra and Morgari. Chapel number 16, “The climb to Calvary” built between 1887 and 1889, stands out for artistic merit: the plastic group was executed by Leonardo Bistolfi. Of great interest is Chapel 23, “The Coronation of the Virgin”, commonly known as "Il Paradiso”, dates to 1598: it is the highest chapel of the Sacro Monte and the interior is dominated by groups of figures hanging and frescoed on the vault, approximately 300 in total. The work was carried out primarily by De Wespin and helpers.