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Bike your way to the sanctuary of the patroness of cyclists

Umberto-CC
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The sanctuary of the Madonna del Ghisallo, in Magreglio, near Lake Como, includes a small cycling museum.

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Tradition tells that when Count Ghisallo was being chased by bandits, he saw the Virgin Mary appear in a small chapel nearby, offering him refuge. As he ran to the place, he miraculously escaped being assaulted.

Since then, the Madonna del Ghisallo has become the patroness of both the town and those who travel around the northern Italian Alps.

Years later, the hill where the chapel of the Madonna del Ghisallo is built became part of the route of the Giro di Lombardia (a bicycle race that goes around the Italian region), so a local priest, Father Ermelindo Vigano, proposed that Mary, under the title of the Madonna del Ghisallo, be declared Patron Saint of the Cyclists.

Pope Pius XII could not but approve the petition.

Today, the small Sanctuary of the Madonna del Ghisallo also hosts a museum, featuring photographs and memorabilia of some the most remarkable cyclists of all time, and maintains a permanently lit torch, in memory of dead athletes.

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