For centuries, the Sanctuary of Santa Maria Addolorata, also known as Madonna delle Fontane, has been a place of great devotion both for the inhabitants of Caino and generally for those in the neighbouring areas. Originally, the Sanctuary was a “santella” (wayside shrine) located along a mountain path and open at the front, according to the pastoral visits of the 1500s. According to some scholars, the current sacristy behind the presbytery may have been the original santella, given the presence of some fresco scenes on the walls.
The present building was constructed starting in 1743, possibly designed by Domenico Corbellini. It still has a certain Baroque style linked to the plastic effects of the volumes and the architectural features.
Going up the entrance path, along which there are two 18th-century aediculas with small fountains, you reach the churchyard where a circular basin with a central fountain opens up. The façade is divided into two orders: the lower one is characterised by a deep portico, as wide as the entire temple. After crossing the threshold, with a few steps you cross the entrance space dominated by a linear and late wooden choir to find yourself in a very large space despite the modest size of the temple. The single nave comprises a large quadrangular room from which minute bays branch off to form, barely hinted at, a Greek cross. The entire space is magnificently enriched by the interplay of numerous Corinthian-style columns leaning against it, emphasising the hall’s various areas. Above the barrel vaults of the arms of the cross, marked by thick arches, opens the hemispherical dome of the nave that flows into the clerestory at the top, where the temple is over 15 metres high.
In addition to the architecture, the temple’s showpiece is the vast pictorial apparatus that unfolds in the vaults, which as always, is framed by elegant plastic stucco decorations. Above the altar, characterised by geometric mirrors, in the back lunette, stands a large scene depicting a seated woman, perhaps the Virgin Mary, flanked by several flying cherubs; in the foreground, there is a striking image of a little angel intent on pouring a vase filled with water towards the hall.