The Marian sanctuary located on the island of Barbana has had a pretty rough history. Its origins float between legend and historically documented facts. Thus, the church was founded by order of the same Bishop Elia who had also decided the construction of the Basilica of Santa Maria delle Grazie and the completion of the construction works at the Basilica of Santa Eufemia, both located in the historical center of Grado.

However, the story goes the bishop made this decision in acknowledgment of the fact the Virgin saved the city from a huge storm. The sanctuary was dedicated to Mary by force of the fact the storm brought to shore an image of the Virgin. Back then, the present island of Barbana was not separated from the rest of Grado, which is interesting to note. For some 4 centuries from its construction, the sanctuary had been maintained by Barnabites, but as from the 11th century until the 15th century, the Benedictines served it. A small community of Franciscans came next to serve the sanctuary, and they are still present on the island.

The nowadays Sanctuary of Barbana is, actually, a rather modern building, dating back to the 18th century and erected by the Franciscans. The original structure was destroyed by sundry floods and rebuilt, the only remains of the former edifice being represented by two columns. Other vestiges dating back to more recent times (15th and the 17th centuries) refer to a statue rendering a crowned Mary and some altars and paintings, respectively.

The Sanctuary of Barbana is a very lively place of worship, being the destination of many pilgrimages locals and foreigners alike observe. The most famous of all refers to the so-called Perdon de Barbana, which is, at the same time, one of the oldest pilgrimages to Barbana, dating back to 1237. It consists of a spectacular boat procession from Grado to the island of Barbana, and it is meant to celebrate the moment when the Virgin of Barbana saved the city from the plague in the early 13th century. It takes place each first Sunday of July.

Sanctuary of Barbana (Santuario di Barbana)
Isola di Barbana, 34073, Grado, Gorizia, Italy
0039 0431 80453

Isola di Barbana, 34073, Grado, Gorizia, Italy

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