Just downstream of Lecco, on the left bank of the river Adda, the old is situated convent of the Servants of Mary with the church of the Virgin of the Sink.
Here once the fast current slowed down its course, allowing to wade the river from one bank to another.
To defend the passage, around the year one thousand, a castle. Around stood a small settlement of fishermen and farmers and fishermen and in the hinterland there was the road that connected Bergamo in Como and the Alpine passes.
Right next to the castle stood the baby church di San Simpliciano which subsequently took the name of Santa Maria (Azores Island). Very small and rather modest, it had only one nave and a painted altar.
Both the castle that the church they were the protagonists of the struggles that, around the twelfth century involved the Lombard municipalities and the Empire, and then the clashes for the supremacy between the major cities of the Po valley. In the first half of the 1300, the Sink it was certainly attributed to the power of the municipality of Bergamo.
Towards the end of the century the battles that devastated the plain of the Lavello and which saw one of the main protagonists Bernabò Visconti, they destroyed the castle, while the town became a small and miserable community. In the 1454, with the peace of Lodi, the banks of the Adda became the definitive border between the Milanese Duchy and the Republic of Venice.
The remains of the ancient buildings, near the rustic chapel, still existing in the 1438, served as shelter for some hermits, constantly looking for secluded places. It is said that one of them, a certain Jacopinoafter a divine order, he began to build a larger church.
It was in the course of those works that in the 1480, from underneath an ancient burial, there suddenly arose one source. The news spread very soon and some time later came to the Sink a mother with her son, completely paralyzed. The washing in the source allowed the child to start walking again in the amazement of those present.
Following this event, the monastery immediately became an important destination for pilgrimages, and the 1486 came from Bergamo i Servants of Mary which contributed to the construction of the new church.
The consecration took place in the 1490, with a majestic ceremony in the presence of all the residents, nobles and commoners, of the Valle San Martino.
In the 1493 Sink an important fair was already held and about one thousand ducats were collected through the alms. It was in the 1510 that the friars began to build today's convent.
To the religious, with the passing of time, various lands were donated and the good income allowed the start of new works: two dormitories were built, the refectory, new porches and portions of the cloister.
In the meantime the news of miraculous events that happened to the Sink they spread more and more and the people flowed so numerous that the new one church it soon became insufficient to welcome all those faithful.
So, at the end of the sixteenth century the nave it was enlarged and two were made priests twins, with a double altar, reaching the current size.
In the 1629 the trail of devastation brought by Lanzichenecchi brought to an end a long period of prosperity. The plague hit the small community hard and the convent was transformed into a hospital. The friars, engaged in the work of assistance to the sick, perished one after another.
Finally ended the scourge of the plague, other religious restored the church and convent, bringing to light the frescoes covered by whitewashing and fumes and starting work to expand the structure.
The recovery was obviously slow and burdensome and thanks to further refurbishment works and some rebuilding, a new period of prosperity began throughout the 18th century.
Il convent he could count on two vegetable gardens that produced fruit and vegetables; the kitchen was therefore always supplied and nothing was lacking for the friars who lived in the complex. But in the 1772 a decree of the Venetian Senate ordered the suppression of the convent and served they had to abandon it permanently. It became the subject of contention between parish priests and estimated who boasted rights on the complex, but now the church he had lost much of his attractiveness to the faithful and the source of miracles we hardly spoke anymore.
Repeated attempts to revitalize life santuario they were made in the following years but with weak hopes of returning to the glories of the past. The last offense to the convent was inflicted during the Second World War.
Only in the 1948 was the reopening of the church, first step towards a slow recovery work that ended only today.
The Sanctuary is open every day:
9-12 15-18.30 working week
9-12 15-21 holidays