The first notice of the existence of this church dates to the thirteenth century. It is mentioned in the notarial act drawn up on 14th January of 1263 between the commons of Bergamo and Cremona for the delimitation of the borders between the two cities. The tracing of this border left the church of Santa Maria in Cremona area. From 1267 it returned in Bergamo area, among the diocese of Bergamo.
Since 1531 the sanctuary has belonged to the parish of Cividate.
The church is oriented to West-East, as all the churches before the fifteenth century, the first enlargements have been made since the sixteenth century.
The new facade repeats the characteristics of the ancient, except in the large window rebuilt in a semicircular shape: the large baroque window connects the matron with the nave.
The rectangular plan has a vaulted opening, decorated with stucco and two frescoes by Orelli depicting "The Resurrection" and "The escape to Egypt".
On the south side of the sanctuary it is placed a porch with columns of Corinthian style. The walls of the sanctuary are formed by pebbles and bricks but some windows were walled.
On the walls of the single nave, marked by pilasters with Corinthian capitals, there are fifteen oval canvases of the Mysteries of the Rosary, painted by Francesco Cappella, and plaster statues by Camusso depicting the Virtues.
The rectangular presbytery is covered by a small dome decorated with stucco and golden friezes.
In the four plumes there are the figures of the Evangelist by Orelli depicting Saint John, Saint Mathew, Saint Mark and Saint Luke. On the side walls there are two large canvases, by Giovanni Raggi: on the left the adoration of the Magi, and on the right St. Charles among the plague victims, perhaps due to the intervention of his collaborators. On the right wall it is placed a chest of the eighteenth century.
The marble altar is leaning against the back wall of the presbytery. The altar piece is the niche with the wooden statue of the Madonna decorated with golden stucco. On the sides of the arch that separates the presbytery from the nave there are two high reliefs in plaster by Camusso; on the left there is the "Madonna del Sasso" and on the right the "Madonna della Fiducia", the latter representing a woman surrounded by children while breastfeeding one.
The sacristy is a small room at the back of the presbytery. On the north wall there is a rough tombstone reminiscent of the deposition in this church of S. Giacomino Martire and a small canvas depicting the Deposition.
The ancient bells of S. Maria del Sasso are now on the bell tower of the church of S. Margherita from Cividate.
The rich families who over the centuries have exercised the right of patronage on the church equipped it with rich vestments and sacred furnishing worthy of their census and their nobility. The church has suffered from innumerable thefts that have depleted its initial patrimony. "What is still preserved today, however, bears witness to the generosity of large families and the generosity of the countless devotees of every time".
The last restoration was carried out in 2018-2019. The interventions were mainly aimed at restoring the frescoes, the plasters, the stucco, the 15 ovals depicting mysteries of the rosary and the canvases of the Rays.
The Sanctuary of Santa Maria del Sasso is located in Cortenuova (BG), in via cascina Guerra. He is remembered to be the only monument that survived to the destruction of the country following the Battle of Cortenuova in 1237.
The church, in fact, existed long before the thirteenth century, but is mentioned for the first time in a notarial deed of 1263, whose purpose was to establish the boundaries between the municipalities of Bergamo and Cremona. At that time, the church belonged to the diocese of Cremona and from 1267 was assigned to that of Bergamo.
During the XIV-XV century this sanctuary was abandoned. In 1531 the church belonge the parish of Cividate, with the title of Santa Maria del Predono. In the same year, the chronicles recall that a murder was committed right in front of the church.
In 1575 Saint Charles Borromeo considered the church as an integral part of the new parish of Cividate. although the three families who lived near the church refused to contribute to the payment of wages to the parish priest of Cortenuova for the payment of the restoration of Santa Maria. Then the cardinal ordered that a door would be opened through which could attend Mass.
In 1583 Bishop Regazzoni visited the sanctuary. The bishop, not knowing the dialect of Bergamo within the document of the pastoral visit, translated the term "Predono" to "Forgiveness".
In 1703 Mons. Ruzzini had the parish priest of Martinengo visit the sanctuary, transforming the name of the sanctuary from "Santa Maria del Perdono" to "Santa Maria della Lapide".
In the pastoral visit of Mons. Priuli in 1715, the sanctuary is mentioned for the first time with the title of Santa Maria del Sasso, while in the successive pastoral visits of Mons. Redetti in 1738 and Mons. Dolfin, the title of Santa Maria del Sasso is always indicated.
The building was then already owned by the Pezzoli family, who also provided his restoration and expansion. The name of Sanctuary of Santa Maria del Sasso is attested for the first time only on 8 November 1857.
The sanctuary was visited by pilgrims especially in the 18th and 19th centuries. The only certain thing is that Santa Maria is the only church to have survived the abandonment of Cortenuova. which can only be explained by the uninterrupted devotion of the faithful people in the area.
On 15 October 1890 the Passi family from Calcinate came into possession of the land and the church of Santa Maria, moved here the relics of Saint Irene and Saint Anatolia. In 1950 the church became a separate parish from that of Cortenuova and in 1954 the statue of Our Lady was solemnly crowned.
It is one of the oldest festivals in the country although it is now celebrated only by the inhabitants of the fraction which became an autonomous parish in 1950.
Every first Sunday of May the inhabitants of Cortenuova go to the sanctuary to pick up the wooden statue of the Madonna that is transported through parish on a wagon decorated with drapes and flowers and towed by three pairs of white oxen. After the function, the statue is taken back to the sanctuary in procession.
R. Caproni, Cortenuova, Pagazzano 1977, pp.3, 7, 15, 16,32.
R. Caproni – Giuseppe G. Giassi – Carla C. Bonomi, La Chiesa di Santa Maria del Sasso in Cortenuova, Guida storico-artistica, archivio curia vescovile, edizione 2019
Santuario di Santa Maria del Sasso – Cortenuova, in <https://www.itinerari.bergamo.it/santuario-di-santa-maria-del-sasso-cortenuova/ > (ultimo accesso 3 marzo 2021)
<http://bassabergamascaorientale.it/punti-di-interesse/conventi-santuari-pievi/santuari-di-campagna/> (ultimo accesso 3 marzo 2021)