A spiritual bijou emerges from the thick vegetation on the ridge between Loiano and Monghidoro. Minimal and restrained, the ancient shrine of Madonna dei Boschi is at the edge of a narrow stretch of road that crosses the eponymous village just 2km from the capital.
In recent years the shrine has thrived unexpectedly and attracts more visitors thanks to the community of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.
The current place of worship stands on the remains of an ancient church founded in 1616, called Beata Vergine del Nuvoleto or Bocca di Nugoletto. Originally there was an image of Our Lady set in a small pillar, very similar to the San Luca Virgin, located where the church stands today.
The image was a landmark for those scattered rural communities that played a leading role in the history of Madonna dei Boschi. Thanks to the generosity of the offerings from these communities, the shrine was completed in 1685.
In the early 1700s, following a pastoral visit, Cardinal Boncompagni defined the church a “miraculs clari”, referring to the numerous graces bestowed by the Blessed Virgin on her devotees.
The interior is a revelation.
Rich in works of art, some by sculptor Antonio Gambarini. The church revolves around the icon of the Blessed Virgin and Child that dominates the high altar by the ancient pillar.
The Friars are the heart of this small pearl of the Apennines.
Arriving here in 2013, led by the rector Father Gabriele Pellettieri. They were able to engage the communities around the shrine and give life to a surprising wave of devotion.
Every day at 7am, from Monday to Saturday, and on Sunday at 9am, it is possible to attend a very evocative mass celebrated in Latin.
The most important feast is in May on the religious commemoration of the Ascension: from the shrine of Campeggio, a procession leads up to the Madonna dei Boschi icon of the Virgin Mary. The two sanctuaries are inextricably linked by this age-old tradition and are perceived in popular imagination of Apennine communities as religious cornerstones.
VIA MATER DEI The Camino of the Marian Sanctuaries of the Bolognese Apennines
Foiatonda Cooperativa di comunità
Via della Libertà, 2 - Madonna dei Fornelli
40048 San Benedetto Val di Sambro (BO)