The Sanctuary of the Great Madonna is located in the hamlet of Colloredo near Nuova Cliternia, a district of Campomarino. The parish church, named after the Blessed Virgin Mary Assumed in Heaven, was built in 17th century: made of bricks and with an octangular design, it was erected thanks to rich gifts from Diego D’Avalos of Aragona, Marquis of Vasto.
Inside the sanctuary there is the picture of the Great Madonna, venerated since a long time. The old painting was casually found inside a cave, after it was stolen in 1880 by unknown people, who even set on fire the church. The picture dates back to Baroque and shows the absorbed Virgin, on a dark background, with a blue mantle and a purple dress.
The sanctuary is characterized by the worship painting and its octagonal shape. Its interior, adorned with stucco and enjoyable furnishings, was recently restored during the Ninties and, thus, considerably modified concerning its structure.
For centuries, the Sanctuary of the Great Madonna has been a pilgrimage destination for people from the surrounding areas. The Great Madonna is the most venerated by Albanians of Molise and attracts many worshippers for the traditional pilgrimage by feet. This, propitiatory for rain and fields’ fertility, happened the last Sunday of April: in the afternoon the procession went back to the town, followed by the sound of bells and the bang of firecrackers. Many years ago people went to the sanctuary using carts given by the rich. Later the pilgrimage has become usual in March, May and August, in particular for young people who organized open-air breakfasts near the sanctuary.
Today it’s more a chapel with many windows and a baroque door than a true sanctuary. The small bell tower is a gable-type one. The roof cover is slightly lifted to resemble a dome.