Constructed in 1914 near an existing roadside shrine, the Cappella della Madonna delle Grazie was built as a shelter for the farmers working in the surrounding vineyards in the event of heavy rain or hailstorms. Its original frescoes were by a local painter, Giovanni Savio (1863-1950) and the chapel was never consecrated.
The chapel is located in Le Brunate, one of the most important crus in the Barolo DOCG production zone. In 1976 the Ceretto family purchased six hectares of vineyards in Le Brunate including the neglected chapel. The Ceretto’s have long been patrons of the arts in the Langhe and in 1997 they approached English artist, David Tremlett, with the idea of renovating the structure into a “temple of wine”. Tremlett, who was in the Langhe for an art exhibit at the Castello di Barolo, liked the idea and wanted to involve another artist, his American friend, Sol LeWitt (1928-2007). The collaboration resulted in Tremlett working on the interior and LeWitt the exterior of the chapel.
Tremlett said that he wanted to create “something that would attract people to spend a pleasant day; to sit, drink a glass of wine, read a book, talk, maybe pray too”. LeWitt’s colorful exterior succeeds in attracting people. Part of the artist’s Wall Drawings series, LeWitt covered the chapel in bands of bright, saturated colors. Today the chapel is known as Cappella delle Brunate or Cappella del Barolo in celebration of the prestigious wine that is born in this vineyard.