A few miles south of Livorno, the scenic village of Montenero located on a hill overlooking the sea and the port city, home to the eponymous shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Grace and well founded, according to popular tradition, in 1345.
It is said that a crippled shepherd found a miraculous image that asked him to be transported on the hill of Montenero. Heard the voice as did the shepherd had been asked and come on top of the hill was healed. Around the small church of the origins grew, along with the devotion of sailors especially in the area, a sanctuary that took its present form in 1744. Since then, that image of the Madonna has never ceased to be a source of devotion and grace for all those who turn the sanctuary and that there is born is the destination of pilgrimages and visits by a large number of people.
In side chapels a gallery collects an exceptional collection of ex-voto, most of them made by surfers and sailors.
A large number of people wanted to leave an object, pictures, clothes, as a sign of grace that was received thanks to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is interesting to note that this collection of votive addition to demonstrating the profound devotion of the faithful is also an exhibition which can be seen a split the simple story of different periods: the costumes, landscapes, roads, means of transport. They are images of people, fishermen, farmers, shepherds, women of the house, children, some of these images are more coarse others are rather expressions of a highly popular art. You can also admire the work of famous authors:''The horse "by Giovanni Fattori, "The motorcyclist" by Renato Natali.
A curious fact is that the greatest number of concerns received through storms at sea, following the sinking, falls overboard and collisions.
Everything has always aroused the interest for a real analysis iconographic in the last 200 years, but because of fundamental interest is the faith, simple and naive, the protagonists of the events.
The shrine is reached by a funicular that leaves from the square of coaches, so called because of habit visitors a time to leave this square in their carriages.
Next to the church sanctuary is a real Pantheon of Livorno. Inside there are monuments funeral of Leghorn the distinguished: Francesco Domenico Guerrazzi, Enrico Pollastrini, Carlo Bini, Charles Meyer, Giovanni Fattori, Giovanni Marradi.
Admission to the shrine by a frescoed hall and here we reach the interior of the baroque church altars "How do you celebrate those who helped finance its construction. The famous image of the Madonna of Montenero di Pisa painter Jacopo Di Michele, leaving the church only when plagues or earthquakes to bless Livorno, is located on major.
The cult of Our Lady of Montenero had become tradition use by vessels of Catholic nations, to "greet" with prejudice cannon to which the brothers met with the lighting of fires.