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El Santuario de Atotonilco, San Miguel de Allende

Highway to Dolores Hidalgo (14 km from San Miguel)
Mexico's insider take:

In the 18th century, Father Luis Felipe Neri de Alfaro founded this sanctuary of six adjoining chapels as a retreat site for faithful pilgrims. Although it looks rather ordinary from the outside, the interior is amazing, with every inch of the stone ceilings and walls painted in pale blue, pink, and beige frescoes depicting biblical scenes by artist Miguel Antonio Martínez de Pocasanger, who worked on the frescoes for more than 30 years under the tutelage of European artists. Sometimes called the Sistine Chapel of the Americas, the sanctuary was painstakingly restored as part of San Miguel's UNESCO World Heritage Site, designated in 2008. On the week before Semana Santa (Holy Week), the town's population grows from about 2,000 to nearly 10,000 as pilgrims arrive to take part in a procession to San Miguel's Parroquia.—Maribeth Mellin

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