The Virgin's house in which the Word took flesh at the salutation of the angel was, according to ancient tradition, transported to Loreto, Italy.
The Holy House of Loreto soon became the first shrine of international renown dedicated to the Virgin. It was for several centuries the true Marian center of Christendom.
Benedict XV, in his "Treaty of the Canonization of the Saints" , while declaring that it is not a dogma of the faith, accepts the reality of the transfer of the Virgin's habitation:
"All the monuments provide lasting proof: the continuing tradition, the testimony of the Roman pontiffs as well as the ongoing miracles confirm it."
Sixtus V, who put the final touch to the Basilica's façade, had these words engraved in gold:
"House of the Mother of God where the Verb was made flesh."
Saint John Paul II calls to mind:
"In these time-worn stones, icons of the mystery of the Incarnation by which 'for us men and for our salvation' God, at the Annunciation, took flesh of the Virgin Mary and was made man as we profess in the Creed."
Mary's house was built in a grotto hollowed out of the rock, and near its opening a small area was surrounded by three walls; these walls form the Holy House in Loreto and are the object of veneration.