Santuario di Nostra Signora della Guardia

Monte Tirasso (Alassio)

The sanctuary of Our Lady of the Guard is a place of Catholic worship in Alassio, in the province of Savona, located on the highest peak of the mountain ridge Tirasso - 586 meters s.l.m. - In a dominant position on Alassio town and its gulf.

According to a popular tradition at the ancient and old castle - watch tower built in the Middle Ages by the Municipality of Albenga for the defense of the valleys below, there was erected in the place where now stands the present sanctuary a primitive chapel. The small votive temple was built mainly by sailors and the inhabitants themselves of Alassio, led by the community of Benedictine monks, who in 1100 - or more probably in 1200 - they built this building and entitling it to Stella Maris, invoked by people who sailed to sea.

The next title to the Madonna della Guardia derives from the Roman fort built to guard the Gulf of Alassio. As a result of frequent pilgrimages, both from the Riviera is from the villages of the neighboring valleys such as Merula, Arroscia, Lerrone, it was decided to expand in the seventeenth century the ancient shrine. In building the very stones of the ancient watchtower it was partly used.

Other expansions are performed between 1855 and 1898 by successive parish priests of Alassio and other interventions are taking place in the decade between 1950 and 1960, strongly desired by the rector Monsignor Innocent De Ferrari who considered the Guardia sanctuary the "spiritual lung" of the church local. It was in the latter restoration that were erased the remnants of the ancient Roman fortress, still visible in the 1915 photographs.

The architectural structure and its interior present a seventeenth-century style and divided into three naves with side pillars. Inside there are a few votive offerings donated by the faithful, according to religious belief, for graces received and most of them are inspired by events related to maritime life.

During the expansion of the eighteenth century they were donated by Marcellino Brea and Giovanni Battista Rossano - "stewards" and noticed Alassio - several statues of the Virgin Mary and angels, as well as an image depicting Jesus ascending to heaven.

Inside the chapel of the left aisle is a wooden group of the Madonna della Guardia, prompting the apparition took place at Mount nel1490 Figogna between Genoa and Ceranesi. The ceiling of the nave was painted by the painter Virginio Grana Genoa between il1859 and 1860.

The right aisle houses a remarkable organ built by Benjamin Giribaldi.



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