Loreto is a town in the province of Ancona (the Marche region) on the central-east coast of Italy. It is located on a 127 metre-high hill (above sea level) between the valleys of Potenza and Musone and dominates the Adriatic coast. Loreto is a small jewel of the Marche, its size reaches barely 17 square Km and its population is about 12,ooo people. The town did not exist prior to the arrival of the Holy House on the hill: Loreto, as town, grew up after the building of its church and it thrived around it. Inside the Basilica we find the Nazarene Holy House, where the Virgin Mary was born and lived and where She received the Annunciation. The House consists of 3 walls ; the 4th wall was never there as the house was built in front of a cave dug in the rock, which we find today in the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth.
In order to give the best protection to the Holy House, the church in Loreto was conceived and constructed on the model of a castle / fortress. This particular conception of the building is indeed one of the most peculiar architectural characteristics of the Basilica.
and finally in the night between the 9th and the 10th of December 1294 on a laurel tree-hill, on which Loreto was later built. The town was actually named after this plant (laurel = laurum = lauretum = Loreto ). Since that day people celebrate the " Venuta" (the Coming) on this special night. One of the most special and traditional ways of celebrating it is the so called "focaraccio", i.e. "big fire". Modest amount of straw and wood were set on fire so that the light trail produced could help the angels to find their way to Loreto through the dark night. Our Lady of Loreto is also the protector of the Air Forces due to this miraculous flight of which the legend tells.