The Sacred Mount of Crea

The Sacred Mount of Crea is situated on one of the highest hills of the Monferrato area (455m. a.s.l.) in the province of Alessandria. The special location enhances it with an exceptional panoramic view over the surrounding hills and the alpine mountain chain.

Construction work on the Sacred Mount began in 1589 on the initiative of the Prior of Crea Costantino Massino, who designed the enlargement of the pre-existing Marian sanctuary, providing also for the construction of a series of chapels dedicated to the mysteries of the life and to the triumph of the Madonna. Among the first chapels built, there are those of the Nativity of Mary and of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple.












The Sacred Mount of Crea includes twenty-three chapels, built in two different construction phases, one in the 16th and 17th centuries, and the other in the 19th century. The oldest part is distinguished by complex groups sculptures in polychrome terracotta inserted in frescoed environments; these were decorated by artists like Moncalvo, Prestinari and Wespin. The nineteenth century work, that replaced the chapels that had been lost, reveals a simpler style of statues, except for the chapel of the Climb to Calvary - Salita al Calvario, in which Leonardo Bistolfi worked and produced a composition of great emotional intensity.

The chapels, except for the first two dedicated to Saint Eusebius, are centred on different stages of the life of the Virgin (initially on the mysteries of the Rosary), following a path that culminates in the chapel of the Coronation of Mary - Incoronazione di Maria -, better known as Il Paradiso. The Chapel of Paradise, with over three hundred statues, is the most complex of the Sacred Mount. The subject is treated with great richness. Portrayed is the Coronation of Mary by the Trinity, supported by a host of angels. She has a crown of three rings of statues portraying apostles, saints and martyrs.

Chapel I

St.Eusebio Martyrdom, with works by G. Wespin and portraits by G. Alberini

Chapel II

St. Eusebio Rest, built again in 1860 - 66, statues by G. Latini and portraits by Martini di Robella

Chapel III

Mary Forshadowed and Prophesied, built again ex-novo in 1867, based on the project by F. Brocchi, statues are by Morra di Grazzano and portraits by L. Pavese di Vignale

Chapel IV

Conception of Mary

Chapel V

Nativity of Mary

Chapel VI

Presentation of Mary to the Temple

Chapel VII

Marriage of Mary

Chapel VIII

Annunciation of the Angel to Mary

Chapel IX

Mary Visiting Elizabeth

Chapel X

Nativity of Christ

Chapel XI

Presentation of Jesus to the Temple

Chapel XII

Argument of Jesus in the Temple

Chapel XIII

Prayer of Jesus in the Garden

Chapel XIV


Chapel XV

Coronation of Thorns

Chapel XVI

Climb of Jesus to the Calvary

Chapel XVII

The Wedding Feast at Cana

Chapel XVIII


Chapel XIX

Resurrection of Jesus

Chapel XX

Ascension of Jesus

Chapel XXI

Coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles

Chapel XXII

Assumption of Mary

Chapel XXIII

Coronation of Mary


Surface area: 47 hectares,
Elevation: 355 - 455 metres,
Environment: hilly,
Year of founding as a Natural Park of the Piemonte Region: 1980.


Sacro Monte di Crea is situated on one of the highest points of the hills in the Basso Monferrato. It is made up from sedimentary rocks dating back to the Oligocene-Miocene era (marl and sandstone).
Definitively emerged from the waters of the Po gulf at the end of the Tertiary period (2 - 3 million years ago), at the beginning of the Quaternary period (one million years ago) the hills of the Monferrato area as well as the whole pre-alpine strip in Piemonte were characterized by a Mediterranean flora. The weather changes together with the action of the glaciers moving from the Alpine areas towards the Po Plain provoked the destruction of the existing Mediterranean flora and brought species which are typical of the Alpine cold climate. After the last glaciation they found the suitable ecological conditions for their survival on the Northern fresh and shady hills.
During the glacial period some thermophile species took shelter on the sunny and steep slopes of the hills in the Monferrato which represented real oasis because they were free from glaciers.
In this recolonization context, microthermal, Mediterranean as well as Eastern steppe species took shelter in peculiar ecological niches where they still live, representing nowadays real relicts of the Quaternary and even of the Tertiary periods.
The signs of these floristic invasions and colonizations are still visible. The northern distribution limit of many Mediterranean species reaches the hot exposures and the hillocks of Monferrato; for instance, the Inula bifrons, whose rubbed leaves smell of lemon and mint; or the thin Crocus biflorus which can be found only on the Tyrrhenian coast and has a precocious blooming. In the Northern woods and in the bottom of the valleys you can find some mountain species perpetuating since the glacial period: among them the yellow wolfbane (Aconitum vulparia) and the Turk's Cap Lily (Lilium martagon).


The Northern slope, steep and shady, is mainly covered by common alders, cherry trees, oriental hornbeams, English oaks, chestnut trees and maples. The Southern slope, which is more temperate and less steep, is made by a thick coppice of downy oaks and manna-ashes. Sometimes it is possible to find limited groups of sycamore maple, European hackberry, ash trees, and sessile oaks.
The locust tree has had a considerable development on both slopes and it sometimes replaces the plain wood.
The undergrowth is made up of cornel trees, bladder sennas, brooms, and wayfaring trees.
Pond lilies, anemones, fragrant orchids, and orchids can also be found in the area.
The Park is very interesting from a botanical point of view because of the presence of rare floristic elements, or floristic elements outside their normal area of distribution.


The most widespread mammals in the Park are badgers, foxes, squirrels, dormice, and hares. Among the birds of prey there are buzzards, kestrels, long-eared owls, little owls, barn owls, tawny owls; among the passerines, blackbirds, thrushes, green woodpeckers, wall creepers, and the great tit.
Among the reptiles there are the asp viper and the western whip snake; among the amphibians, the salamander.

The Natural Park and equipped area of the Sacred Mount of Crea.
Cascina Valperone, 1
15020 Ponzano Monferrato (AL)
Tel.: 0141 927120
Fax: 0141 927800

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