Architectural elements of Sacred Mounts have a particular
‘relation’ both with the vegetation inside their walls and with the surrounding environment, which turns each complexe into a sort of
unique, typical and recognizable landscape. Different Pre-Alps-sites morphologies and environmental situations have determined, in
the course of time and during the various building phases, new landscape compositions which, according to the present-day conception
of landscape heritage protection, are considered as important as historical, artistic and architectonical values.
The contents of Franciscan preaching concerning Sacred Mounts foundation were inspired by the easiest, almost hermit-like aspects of
natural environments, meant like ideal means to bring mankind next to Creation’s misteries; the primordial meaning of woods became a
symbolic value and a useful way to represent a spiritual world ideally separated from earthly life. Following the counter-reformists
dictates, they modified religious issues, and therefore related sculpture and painting’s scenes within chapels; in this period Sacred
Mounts locations and their original vegetation environments suffered the biggest changes in shape.
Woodland slopes are typical features of Sacred Mounts. As buildings stand out against the surrounding environment, there is always a
well-defined visual relation among architectural elements, woods and beautiful surrounding Pre-Alps arc’s landscapes (that is mountains,
lakes, vineyards and cultivated terracings), and the same is between natural environment and the underneath urban one.
Outside Sacred Mounts complexes there are cultivated and protected environments, unmistakable signs of human work, such as mountains villages,
agricultural or urban landscapes which, according to these religious complexes’ inventors, represent the earthly and material aspect
of everyday life which finds in sacred areas its completion and reason for being.