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Home Cultural Heritage Churches Shrine of Saint Gabriele dell’Addolorata – Isola del Gran Sasso
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Shrine of Saint Gabriele dell’Addolorata – Isola del Gran Sasso

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La vecchia Basilica
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The Shrine of San Gabriele is a place of popular worship, one of the top 15 shrines most visited in the world. This is thanks to the two million pilgrims who every year journey to this destination to pray to the patron saint of Abruzzo also known as the saint of the youths and of the miracles.

The shrine’s first building started in 1215 nearby a Franciscan convent as it was custom and following Saint Francis’ will. The old church was refurbished and enlarged in different occasions over the centuries, at least until early ‘900, when a dome and the existing façade were added.

Saint Gabriele’s chapel opens by the right nave and it was unveiled in 1920. Mostly appreciated are the elegance of the English Gothic style and an uncommon polychromy of the concrete. Beautiful frescos adorn the walls whereas a small enclosure near the transept protects Saint Gabriele’s grave. This is where resounding miracles have kept happening since 1892, the year of his canonization.

The new basilica designed in 1970 is side by side the old shrine. It is spacious and modern: 90 meters long and 30 meters wide, and it can accommodate 12,000 people. This new shrine comprises of a weekday and a festive hall and it reminds of the shape of a vessel: the Saint’s crypt is the cargo area, the basilica’s hall is the deck and the four headsails are set forward symbolising the ongoing church's journey. Spectacular is the U-shaped arched stained-glass window featuring the Light of Christ; equally imposing is the mosaic covering the entire wall about Christ's Death and His Resurrection. This religious spirit expresses itself through the brightness and the brilliance of the colours, the polychromic sparkling granites of the presbytery, the stained-glass windows above the north cross vault from where you can catch a glimpse of fourteen finely wrought-bronze bells.

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