It is unlike any church I’ve been in.

The Santuario Madonna della Neve was visible from the valley floor not far from our house.

Shining like a beacon on the hillside we decided to see if we could find it. A few wrong turns and some dirt roads later we arrived.

Inside the chapel it slowly dawned on me that all the pictures covering the walls were of people who had died.

So many children, so much sadness, I felt overcome by many of the paintings especially the little photos in the corners.

Each one told a story, bought to life knowing they were images of actual people.

Many were obviously painted by the same artist over a number of years.

There were hundreds, all the walls were covered from floor to ceiling. It was overwhelmingly sad, a living history of the people and the losses they had suffered. I couldn’t imagine sitting here at a service, so many spirits, so many sad stories.

Subdued we left the  Madonna della Neve Bagnolo.

Walking back out into the sunshine we met a couple who knew the history of the sanctuary.

They told us that the pictures were in fact of ‘miracles’ not deaths.

They explained to Sam who later translated (as only Sam can, see below)  the story of the Church and the paintings.

If you’d like to hear the official story of the chapel you can find it at Madonna della Neve Bagnolo.