The Madonna del Pettoruto is a sanctuary that rises in a basin of the Esaro valley, on the Tyrrhenian side of the Pollino.

This pilgrimage site is visited every year in September by pilgrims who arrive on foot.

The origins of the sanctuary are distant in time, it seems that the first niche was erected in 1274.

The appellative petruto, that is petroso, refers to the whole mountainous area that surrounds the sanctuary.

A legend about its origin tells that a man named Nicola Mairo, originally from nearby Altomonte, unjustly accused of murder and took refuge on the mountain where the sanctuary stands today to escape capture, would have had a mystical vision.

Here he would have carved, during his hiding, the image of the Madonna and Child on a tufaceous rock; in 1449 the Mairo was cleared of all charges.

Tradition has it that in the early 1600s a deaf and mute shepherd boy heard his name and saw the Madonna with Child in her arms who urged him to found the church.

The sanctuary was built by the will of Bishop Felice Greco, bishop of San Marco Argentano and Bisignano from 1824 to 1840, subsequently elevated to a minor basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1979

Also relevant is the link with the Madonna del Pettoruto that devotees around the world have.

In San Isidro, Argentina, there is a community in honor of the Madonna del Pettoruto.

Families who emigrated from San Sosti and settled in Argentina have continued to practice the cult by reproducing the same anniversaries.

Other communities in Canada and the United States have brought with them the faith towards Our Lady and the Sansostesi traditions.

I also discovered that the city of Bra, in the Cuneo area, is twinned with the municipality of San Sosti. This is because many young San Sosti migrated to Piedmont in search of work and in Bra there is a large community of San Sosti origin.

Come and visit the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Pettoruto, it will be a unique opportunity.

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