which during the early 17th century was replaced with what is known today as the Ancient Basilica. In the following two centuries several other buildings were added to the complex, including the royal apartments of the House of Savoy, a big library and the Royal Gate. The last building added to the sanctuary was the Upper Basilica, a monumental church built between 1885 and 1960. Its dome is 80 metres high and the church can hold 3000 people. In 1617, the construction of the Sacro Monte di Oropa was built not far from the sanctuary. It is a devotional path now composed of twelve chapels (plus another seven nearby) containing groups of statues representing scenes from the story of the Virgin Mary's life. Near the Sacro Monte in the 19th century was built a new graveyard, where the noble families of the Biellese territory built their family tombs. Some graves have free masons symbols, such as Quintino Sella's one.
The Sanctuary of Oropa (Italian: santuario di Oropa), is located at a height of 1159m in a small valley of the Alpi Biellesi. According to legend, a black wooden statue of the Virgin Mary carved by Saint Luke was found in Jerusalem and carried to Oropa in the 4th century AD. In the Middle Ages was built first a church,