The Mariano di Castelmonte sanctuary rises 618 meters above sea level, in the Julian Pre-Alps chain and is 9 km from Cividale del Friuli.
Surely the place was used in Roman times as a military post and already in the times of the Lombards and Franks, ie from the 6th to the 9th century the church of "Santa Maria del Monte" was one of the most important in the entire extended Patriarchate of Aquileia and it already attracted many pilgrims.
Over the centuries the Sanctuary was fortified and enlarged, until it became a village, with a single door that was closed in the evening to protect the pilgrims who always found shelter here.
The statue of the Madonna and Child is the heart of the Sanctuary. For her youthful and attractive face, she was called "Madonna Bella" and for her lively and maternal attitude, even today, she is called "Madonna Viva".
There are no precise answers as to his reason for his dark complexion.
Certainly it fits into the tradition of the black madonnas already present in various European sanctuaries.