The Church of Santa Maria represents the heart of the traditions of Sassari. On August 14th, after a long and exhausting procession carrying huge decorated wooden pillars representing candles, members of the Gremi (Guilds) enter the church proudly, with their votive candles. A religious observance since the Middle Ages, this is the festival of the Candlesticks, which fulfills a promise made to the Virgin Mary of the Assumption for having saved the city from the plague.
The festival floods the streets of the town center with visitors and locals every year.
The simple facade of the structure on the outside hides the magnificent art and historical richness that lies inside the Church. Founded in the Roman Age, with the arrival of Franciscan monks during the thirteenth century it was extended, adapting it to the new Gothic Cistercian canons typical of the area around Tuscany and Umbria. After the Aragonese conquest, the nave and on the short transept of the church was enlarged and a series of little side chapels were added. The construction of a new dome led to the transformation of the church in the first half of the nineteenth century. The monastery complex was built a couple of years later and filled with exquisite architectural and decorative elements, still visible today. It's impossible to ignore the fourteenth century polychrome Catalan wooden statue of the Virgin of Bethlehem, also called Virgin of the Rose.
From the sacristy you can access the cloister, dating from the thirteenth century, in which you can admire the fountain known as the Brigliadore.
Piazza Santa Maria (Saint Mary Plaza)
The church is open based on the timetable of the Mass
Barrier Free Site