Finding a way into this church turned out to become a real struggle. Located on a steep hillside and it’s original road slowly disappearing it took quite a while to reach it. After a long climb in the blistering sun, the efforts were rewarded.
The first evidence of the existence of the holy spot dates back to the 13th-century. It would’ve been a small cave with an altar and some decorative paintings. Later on, the church was constructed as to present today.
What makes it so special is the Holy Stairs (“Scala Santa”) located in the center of the church. They are inspired by the actual Holy Stairs located in Rome. In Roman Catholic believes, the Holy Stairs were the steps leading up to the praetorium of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem on which Jesus Christ stepped on his way to trial during his Passion. Medieval legends claim that these stairs were transported from Jerusalem to Rome circa AD 326.
Going up the stairs is considered penitential because by tradition you can only go up on your knees. Numerous pilgrims climbed the holy stairs in the past. Even today many Catholic faithful climb the entire staircase on their knees, praying and asking for thanks.
There are just a few churches in the world inspired by the Holy Stairs in Rome. Most of them are located in big cities being visited by many tourists every day. This one on the other hand hasn’t been visited by any for many decades.