Inside the "Montovolo and Monte Vigese Park", at 912 meters above sea level, the Shrine stands on a plateau that joins the two mountains.
Inside the "Montovolo and Monte Vigese Park", at 912 meters above sea level, the Shrine stands on a plateau that joins the two mountains. Here, in Etruscan times, there was a temple dedicated to the Goddess Pale, that gave the name of "MONS PALENSIS" to identify the area. During the Roman Empire, because of the cult of the god Jupiter, the name was changed to "MONS JOVIS", as confirmed by ancient maps: a name that, probably due to Italianization, definitively became Montovolo around the year 1000.
In the same period, the first church was built. The current one, however, dates back to 1211, as written in the lunette that stands above the entrance. The Romanesque style makes it unmistakable: a single nave, wooden trussed ceiling. This arcane simplicity is the distinctive element of the sacred place, so loved by the metropolitan priests, who, since 1045, climbed this mountain, creating a millenary connection between the Shrine of Montovolo and the San Pietro Cathedral in Bologna. On the bell tower, dated back to 1838, there is a sundial. Above the main altar, the sacred image of the Blessed Virgin with Child stands, a large wooden sculpture dated back to the 15th century: it was hidden in an oratory at the foot of the mountain, the Sterpi oratory, to escape the destruction of the Second World War and returned to its original site after the conflict. The most interesting part, unearthed around 1925, is undoubtedly the crypt, a very important testimony of the original church. The new church was built above its ancient basement. Having become a sanctuary in 1925, the church shines with a unique charm thanks to the cleaning work that has brought to light its original style. Every twenty-five years, since 1950, the statue of the Madonna is carried on pilgrimage to the nearby towns to bless the local communities.