The surroundings

Votive Shrines

A votive pier is an elementary architectural building which is interpreted in different ways according to the ability and culture of its maker, the financial means of its client, the nature and the contour of the land, the material available on the premises. A votive pier contains in itself the will of sacralization of the territory and shows the choice, which is often ancient, of privileged places as seats of emergence of the sacred. Scattered here and there on the territory, at the crossroads, along ancient and deserted mule tracks or incorporated in new buildings, the votive piers in Avigliana witness this deep and rooted popular religiousness. Some of them, which were thought miraculous by the population for some supernatural events, sometimes with the ecclesiastical approval, became the cause to build a sanctuary (examples of these piers are the one inserted in the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Lakes and the one dedicated to Our Lady of Graces and incorporated in Trinity Church in the Monastery of Humiliated). Other shrines, frescoed by unknown wandering painters, portray an individual thank-you or the fulfilment of a personal or a family vow. Other piers mark ancient boundaries, like the one in the small village of Grignetto which bears the image of Saint Michael on the side looking at west towards the Benedicitine abbey and the image of Saint John the Baptist, the patron saint of Avigliana, on the side looking at east towards Avigliana.

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