The sanctuary of the Madonna della Neve also called Madonna di Lacona, is a sacred building located in the locality of Lacona , in the municipality of Capoliveri.
The Romanesque church, as identified in the basement portion, dates back to the 12th century, was built by the inhabitants of Capoliveri to house the image of the “Madonna della Neve” to which it is dedicated. Ecclesiastical benefit of patronage of the municipality of Capoliveri, the church and the adjacent land, which probably included a hermitage annexed to the oldest apsidal part, were entrusted to the custody of two hermits and their administration to two annual lay priors. Under the Grand Duchy of Tuscany the administrator became unique and improvements and additions were made. In 1817 there was only one hermit, Giuseppe Tosi.
The Sanctuary of the Madonna di Lacona consists of a single body: room for worship, sacristy and bell tower. Above the sacristy, a room accessible only by stairs through a trap door.
The Oratory has two entrances, one main at the back of the Church and the other on the south side. In the place of worship, the altar is visibly dominated by the painting of the Madonna della Neve. The area of the celebration is accessed by climbing a few steps. The double arched ceiling is supported by rafters and trusses. Other interesting information on the origin, structure and peculiarities
The oratory of the Madona della Neve in Lacona
The church of the Madonna della Neve is located in Lacona along a road path that from the west of the island soon reaches Lacona, the crisp and clear volumes of the sanctuary of the Madonna della Neve stand out against the green of the surrounding area, with a today architectural imprint of clear eighteenth-century mold. In the course of a restoration campaign carried out around the middle of the last century, a high section (ca 3.5m) of wall facing in granite and limestone ashlars of different shades arranged in regular rows although not isodomic. The wall appears to be whole only on the right side of the facade and on the entire southern side of the building, where it extends along the side and is visible from the outside and inside, resulting in a thickness of about 0.70 m with filling bag. The main entrance to the church that opens on this side is also relevant to the medieval building. The portal was surmounted by an architrave with an archivolt and a lunette, the traces of which are visible only on the inside. From this entrance, continuing northwards, it is found that the external wall cladding no longer corresponds to the internal part. This was interpreted by Maetzke as the result of a reassembly of the stones of the medieval facing carried out at the time of the expansion of the building during the eighteenth century, expansion and restoration carried out to remedy the damage suffered by the Turkish raids in the first half of the sixteenth century. The traces discovered under the current building allow us to reconstruct the plan of the Romanesque church as shown in the drawing, which therefore had dimensions similar to the standard of small suffragan churches with a parish, in this case that of San Michele in Capoliveri. (Text taken from: Testimonies of Romanesque architecture by Alesandro Naldi )