The shrine located on top of Penice mountain, was founded during the middle age time. In 622, the Longobard king Adiuvaldo and his mother Teodolinda, visited the grave of Saint Colombano in Bobbio and they decided to reach the top of Penice mountain.
Story and Legend about Santuario della Vergine Maria
Namely, it could be possible find on top of the mountain some traces of the lonely moments and strict avoidance by the Irish monk. According to an old legend, the shrine was founded by Colombano Saint, some years before his death (the 23rd march 615). It seems that the building of the shrine was built on a pagan Ligurian and Celtic temple. Actually in this specific place it was founded a little bronze figure, depicting a pagan priest, from the I to the II century (today it’s kept inside of the Montegalletto castle in Genova). The certain reference proofing that the top of Penice mountain was a worship place, appeared in the end of the XI century. The old name of the church was ” Madre di Dio (Mother of God)”, lately changed in “Vergine Maria(Virgin Mary)”.
According to the old tradition, the annual celebration of the shrine is celebrated at the end of summer (2nd Sunday of September).
For many centuries the church at Penice mountain was owned by the San Colombano abbey. Only at the beginning of the XIX century it moved to the Bobbio Diocese. From then on, the shrine became the most important spot and the center for the Marian worship of the Diocese.
It’s a great experience reaching the shrine on a sunny day with wonderful views from the Alps and the Apennines chains, flowing the eye far from the flat land.