After a miracle occurred at the gatehouse of the Castel di Leva in 1740 - a pilgrim was beset by angry dogs, and was saved through the Blessed Virgin's intercession - the site started drawing pilgrims.
During World War II, Pope Pius XII and many Romans came here to pray for Our Lady's intercession in order that the city be spared.
The shrine presently on the site is new, and was inaugurated by Pope John Paul II on July 4th 1999.
Behind the chapel is a staircase that leads down to the gate where the miracle occured in 1740.
Pope John Paul II decided to include the shrine in the pilgrim itinerary for the Holy Year 2000, letting it take the place of San Sebastiano fuori le mura. This means that the faithful who take part in certain pious act here obtain indulgences.
In summer, pilgrim walks are arranges from the obelish of Axum outside the FAO building, near the Circo Massimo Metro station. It starts late on Saturday evening, and reaches the shrine in time for Mass. The walks have traditionally been for men only, but this may have changed.