Unlike other sacred mounts, Sacro Monte di Orta is dedicated to the life of St. Francis of Assisi. It was begun in the 1500s by a wealthy abbot who undertook the expense of building the first chapel on his own. Other wealthy patrons followed and there are now about 20, all in varying states of restoration. Inside the chapels, the events of St. Francis' life are played out in intricate frescoes and terracotta statues. The statues depict not just individuals, but are entire scenes populated by a wide cast of custom-made and painted characters to tell the story of the Saint's life. The figures are absolutely fascinating, and the view of Lake Orta and the mountains from the top is well worth the climb.
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