Amazing footage shows the landslide as it comes crashing down towards the Santuario di Gallivaggio in Valle Spluga, close to the Swiss border, before suddenly stopping.

The belltower was engulfed in a plume of dust but miraculously the church was unscathed and nobody was injured.

“As a believer I say that the provident hand of God accompanied this event which could have ended tragically,” parish priest Don Andrea Caelli told local news website Avvenire

According to Italian media, around 5,000 cubic metres of material fell, after the town received 60 millimetres of rain in just 24 hours.

Roads to the Lombardian town had been closed for more than a month and the town evacuated for several days as experts had predicted the landslide.

Roads have since been reopened following the remarkable event.

The church has a fascinating history, and two young girls claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary at the site in 1492.

The current sanctuary was consecrated in 1598.