The painting cycle dedicated to St. Maria Maddalena at Cusiano
Malè – Cusiano – Comasine – Pegaja: km 27,5
Not far away from Ossana, right by the road going towards Passo Tonale, between the mountain side and the river Noce, lies Cusiano, a hamlet of Rhaetian origins (here were found some remains of a pre-Roman castellar). A precious little church dedicated to St. Maria Maddalena stands out in the village centre. In front of the church there is a unique chapel emulating an open shrine and dedicated to St. Rocco, protector of the plague victims. Inside the church a cycle of frescoed paintings realised at the end of the 15th Century by Giovanni and Battista Baschènis, whose family came from Averara, in upper Val Brembana (Bergamo). The paintings portray, in a very popular style, the legend of Maddalena and her relations, Lazzaro and Marta, in subsequent scenes with captions written in 15th Century Italian. The keystones at the rib crossings bear the coats of arms of Trent, of the Tyrol and de Federici families from Ossana, lords of the Castle of St. Michele.
Leaving the Tonale road some 100 metres past Cusiano, you’ll get into Val di Pejo (the so-called Valletta); going up along the left side of the valley – but to the right of the river Noce – you’ll get up to Comàsine, once famous for its iron mines. A tiny lane goes from the village to a plane where is rising the church dedicated to St. Lucia. This is a highly evocative spot, not only because of the church looks over the old cemetery, but also for a magnificent view over the high mountains all around. The three rich alters that used to be in the church of St. Lucia (dating back to the 15th and 16th Centuries) and that may have been a gift by the miners, are housed today in the church dedicated to St. Matteo at Comàsine; these are unanimously considered the most precious in all Val di Sole.
Going back down along the valley main road, continue up to Celledizzo. The Parish church bell tower is next to St. Antonio chapel, entirely covered with frescoed paintings by the Baschènis (1473). Cógolo comes immediately after, boasting the ancient church dedicated to Saints Filippo and Giacomo (note the frescoed paintings on the exterior) and the Migazzi mansion. This lower noble family, coming from Lombardy, settled in the village around the mid 15th Century. The most well-known member of the Migazzi family was Cristoforo (1714-1803), Bishop, and then cardinal, of Vienna 46 years long.
Along the road going up to Malga Mare, a starting point of hiking itineraries in the Ortles-Cevedale range, right past Cógolo, you’ll stumble into the little Pegaja church, built before 1500 and sole remnant of a homonymous village that was apparently destroyed by a landslide during the 15th Century. The church’s outer wall boasts the image of St. Cristoforo, protector of travellers and protecting those who look at him in devotion from sudden death.

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