Sacro Monte was created by famous architects (G. Alessi, B. Alfieri), painters, and sculptors (G. Ferrari, Giovanni D'Enrico, Tazio da Varallo, E. Prestinari, Tabacchetti, Morazzone). The devotional complex was founded in 1491 and represents the most ancient Sacro Monte and the most important one from the artistic and religious point of view.
The area within the sacred fence is divided into two well-distinct areas. The first area is rich in plants and green, and is organized like a garden scattered with various chapels. The second area is situated on the top, preceded by Porta Aurea, and consists of small buildings full of porticoes facing two squares, Piazza dei Templi (the religious square) and Piazza dei Tribunali (the civil square), in the attempt to repropose the town of Jerusalem.
A monumental entrance door opens inside the walls delimiting the ancient enclosure, underlying the analogies between Sacro Monte and the historical towns. The walls and the door represented the border between the sacred space for prayer and silence and the surrounding area.
The ancient church of Sacro Monte, built in the late 15th century and dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption, was situated where today the Hotel "Casa del Pellegrino" lies and, with the passing of time and the increasing fame of Sacro Monte, was no longer enough.
The works for the new church started in 1614 thanks to the donations of Agostino Beccaria, a nobleman from Pavia, and the charity of the pilgrims. First of all, the choir was built: it was finished in 1642 when, with a solemn ceremony, the old wooden statue of the sleeping Madonna was transported from the old to the new church: it is one of the most ancient statues of Sacro Monte, already documented in 1498, ascribed to Gaudenzio Ferrari, preserved today in a chapel.
Along the ancient pedestrian road climbing from Madonna delle Grazie church to Sacro Monte, there are five chapels.
Pianaccia Chapel was decorated in a rococo style by Antonio Borsetti, but was painted again by Andrea Bonini in the late 19th century. The frontal of the altar is by Giuseppe Antonini (1885).