Santuario di Castelmonte (Prepotto)
The site was probably inhabited since Roman times because of its dominating and secure position; it may have been a place of Early Christian cult from as far back as the 5th – 6th century. Mentioned for the first time in a document from 1175, the Sanctuary of the Beata Vergine del Monte first belonged to the church of Santo Stefano in Cividale; then, from 1253 on, it was under the authority of the church of Santa Maria. During this era substantial extensions of the sanctuary began but radical restoration started in 1469 after a disastrous fire caused by lightening; and in the following century after the serious earthquakes of 1511 and 1513. The complex, regardless of the recent restorations undertaken to repair the damage it sustained during World War II and the adjustments made for the reception of the numerous visitors, has maintained its original appearance of a fortified sanctuary. Secured inside mighty enclosing walls, protected by towers and reinforced in 1647 to a design by Cividale architect Iseppo Cantinella, the complex includes a magnificent church surrounded by monastic buildings and residential houses.