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A New Light between past and present for the Sanctuary of Santa Maria dell’Isola in Tropea

The Sanctuary of Santa Maria dell’Isola in Tropea presents itself as a charming refuge nestled on a small islet, symbolizing Calabria. Its origins, still shrouded in mystery, tell of Basilian monks from the East, eager to find a solitary place for prayer.

Immersed in a breathtaking setting outside the town walls, this medieval church stands on a sandstone cliff. Here, the colors of the land, sea and sky blend together, offering an emotionally stirring sight.

Once isolated from the mainland, the islet became a retreat for courageous hermits. However, following the earthquake of 1783 and the subsequent tidal wave, it joined Tropea’s sandy shore. The building underwent a radical transformation with the opening of the central part, the addition of pillars and barrel-vaulted arches. The interior thus took on the form of a small basilica, retaining irregularities due to the preservation of recoverable parts of the original structure. To reach it, one descends a steep staircase carved into the tufa, a journey that leads to the discovery of a place rich in history and spirituality.

The façade, reconstructed after the second seismic event in 1905, preserves traces of a tumultuous past. Today, the church houses the statues of the Holy Family for the maritime procession that takes place every August 15th.

Viewing light as an element that unites, enriches and decorates, but also as a perfect bridge between history and new technologies, the artistic lighting project for the Sanctuary and the islet aims to restore to the citizens a place intrinsically linked to their history and identity.

Conceived as a monument to be valued in every detail, the artistic lighting project envisions scenarios of light that not only enhance but also embrace the illumination of the rocky ridge at the base. A work designed to unite the past and present through the magic of light, transforming it into a place that speaks to the community.

The staircase, made of limestone along the path leading to the summit of the Sanctuary, is now highlighted thanks to recessed wall projectors. As part of the new project, the replacement of the current devices with LED technology iGuzzini Walky model has also been planned.

The existing projectors have been replaced with new LED models, Up 2000lm, equipped with wide flood optics to highlight both the pilasters of the main façade and the frescoes of the loggia, simultaneously contributing to the internal illumination.

The entire lighting system for the staircase and the Sanctuary has been replaced with lighting fixtures at a color temperature of 3000K, optimal for enhancing the surfaces and monumental materials.

To harmonize history and modernity, various scenarios with a strong commemorative impact have been conceived for dedicated events, using RGBW projectors, Agorà RGBW model, to illuminate the rocky ridge.

These devices, distinguished by their high aesthetic value and visual comfort ensured by the choice of appropriate optics, have been configured at a color temperature of 3000K to highlight the materials, and on special occasions, they can be set with custom-colored light scenarios.

The light concept for the artistic lighting of the Sanctuary of Santa Maria dell’Isola in Tropea has focused on enhancing the heritage and emphasizing the architectures and the site, allowing visibility and appreciation even from a distance due to its unique elevated position.