Loreto owes its fame to the sanctuary, for centuries and still today, one of the most important and visited places of pilgrimage in the Catholic world with its 4 million visitors a year.
The city is surrounded by Renaissance walls erected since the 14th century as a defense above all against Turkish incursions: the Duomo itself is also a fortress, with walkways (which can be visited and from which it is possible to enjoy a breathtaking view), towers, bodies of guard and defensive systems.
The city developed around the Basilica that contains the Holy House of Nazareth, where according to tradition Mary was born and lived and where she received the announcement of the miraculous birth. On 10 December 1294 the precious relic was brought to Italy after the fall of the crusader kingdom in the Holy Land.
The Basilica was raised up to the drum by Giuliano da Maiano and turned into the cap by Giuliano da Sangallo. Between 1610 and 1615 it was frescoed by Pomarancio. Those frescoes laid aside, it was again painted by Cesare Maccari between 1895 and 1907.
Very impressive is also the Piazza della Madonna di Loreto at the center of which stands the Fontana Maggiore (wonderful example of Baroque art in the region) and surmounted by the bell tower with its 9 bells created by the same architect who created the Royal Palace of Caserta: Luigi Vanvitelli.
It is also highly recommended a pleasant walk through the alleys of the historic center, which, like a labyrinth, develop all around the Duomo.
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