The birth of the sanctuary is linked to an apparition of the Madonna to the peasant Antonio Botta on the morning of March 18, 1536. The tale describes that the old peasant Virgin Mary, dressed in white and surrounded by a dazzling light, appeared near a stream, at the confluence of the stream Letimbro, on a stone of the watercourse. Our Lady asked Antonio to go to his confessor and, through the words of the latter, to send three sabbaths of fasting and to perform three processions in honor of God and Mary; the Virgin also left the farmer a request to return to the same place on the fourth Saturday because other messages had to be communicated to the curia and the people of Savona. Obedient to the words of Our Lady, Antonio immediately went to Savona and informed the bishop of the local diocese, Monsignor Bartolomeo Zabrera, as told by Mary and the requests she expressed. Believed by the curia and then the people of Savonese fulfilled Mary's will. the religious community faithfully obeyed the words of Antonio Botta, the reaction of civil authorities, in particular of the Genoese Podestà Baldassarre Doria regent the feud of Savona. The latter, fearing a possible anti-Genoese revolt in the name of faith, summoned the farmer to the castle for an interrogation of the events that had taken place. A legend tells that during the conversation between the authorities and Antonio Botta some fishermen, off Savona, saw above the cathedral and the castle three high flames in the sky. The second appearance of Our Lady happened, as promised, on the fourth Saturday of the first event, on April 8, 1536, on the eve of the palm Sunday. To Antonio Botta, after prayer, the Virgin appeared again with the same dazzling light, and at the exact point of the first Marian appearance; the farmer remembers her with her hands stretched down and widened in a gesture of mercy. On the square in front of the church is a fountain of Giacomo Antonio Ponsonelli of 1708. Around the sanctuary over time were built hospices for seniors and orphanages, many of which operated until the second half of the twentieth century. The three-door stone facade Final, is the work of Taddeo Carlone of Rovio of Lugano. In three niches there are the statues of St. John the Baptist, Saint John the Apostle and the Evangelist and the Virgin. Among the major works contained there are an altar by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and a large Domenichino canvas. In the crypt lies the statue of the Madonna of Misericordia, crowned by Pope Pius VII. He was imprisoned by Napoleon and led to Savona in prison. Here he voted to the Madonna that if he had been released, he would return to the shrine to crown him. So it happened in 1815 after being freed from his Savonese captivity, which began in 1809 and lasted until 1814. The sanctuary has a treasure museum where you can admire ex vows of various epochs, vestments and sacred objects, including a Reliquary of the Golden Cross of the eighteenth-century Turin wolf Vincenzo Belli. The frescoes that adorn the vault, dating back to the 17th century, are the work of the painter Bernardo Castello depicting scenes and episodes from the gospel, as are the work of the same castle pictorial paintings of the dome that opens on the presbytery and the fresco over the door of the nave entrance. The sculptor Honorable Toso of Genoa is the pulpit of 1915, built on the occasion of the first centenary of the coronation of the statue depicting Our Lady of Mercy by Pope Pius VII on May 10, 1815. The altarpiece is the work of sculptor Francesco Schiaffino and was donated to the shrine by the governors of the Pia Opera. On the left side there is also the statue of portraying Giovanni Battista Veretta Bava and a bronze statue in memory of the statue of Our Lady of Mercy.