If we talk about extraordinary places, we can't forget to mention this amazing hermitage built on the side of the hill of Lago Maggiore (at the border between Piedmont and Lombardy, in the North-West of Italy). It is called Santa Caterina del Sasso (literally, Santa Caterina of the Rock).
It was built about 750-800 years ago, when the usurer Alberto Besozzi survived a shipwreck in this lake, believed this was a divine warning for his criminal life and made a vow to Virgin Mary for the received grace: he would have spent the rest of his days praying. So he built a chapel that's still there nowadays (it's inside the building on the left in the picture above).
It is one of the most spectacular places to visit in North-Western Italy, and I always recommend it to the travellers I work with. Unforgettable.