The Sanctuary of Saint Ignatius is the largest and most well-known of the Lanzo Valleys thanks to its spectacular position on the top of Mount Bastia where it can be seen from the valley bottoms and the plains. It is perched on a cliff from where there are breathtaking views.
The Sanctuary is now a place of retreat and spiritual exercise. It was created originally according to the wish of the local people but soon became a favourite of the high clergy and the Turin middle class.
The original chapel dates back to 1629 and its foundation is tied to the fame that Saint Ignatius, founder of the Jesuits, enjoyed in the Lanzo Valleys. In 1727 the Jesuits substituted the chapel with a larger church, more able to contain the growing number of worshipers. It is not clear to whom we can attribute the present building.
A hypothesis is that Giacomo Fontana, architect and master builder, who worked for the Jesuits in Cuneo, supplied the designs and it is thought that Bernardo Antonio Vittone contributed to the main altar.
The central part of the structure has a cross shape, the facade, elegant in its simplicity, was recently restored.
The portal is remarkable with the coat-of-arms of the Jesuits sculpted on it and a fresco above it showing the miracle of the Apparition of Saint Ignatius.
The processional figures, a group of wooden statues representing the Apparition of Saint Ignatius, were originally placed on the summit of Mount Bastia, which jutted out of the floor for several meters.
In 1967 this portion of rock was removed to the rear of the church to leave more space around the altar.
This resulted in the loss of the scenic effect of the original project with the statues illuminated by the side windows