Malè – Castel Bragher: km 28
Go past “le capèle” in Lower Val di Sole, across the Mostizzòlo gorge (85 m high bridge) to Clés and then Dermùlo. A little way past the St. Giustina dam (152 m of height). From Dermùlo, take the Upper Val di Non (Alta Anàunia) road up to Sanzéno. The village, that bears witness to an ancient evangelisation (it was here that three martyrs were burnt in 397), boasts a gothic-Renaissance “basilica” featuring a very simple style, as well as several chapels dating back from the Middle Ages. In Sanzéno you’ll find signposts directing to St. Romédio, starting from the parvis of the little church of St. Maria (11th Century). The road runs in a canyon lapped by Rio St. Romédio and, after some 3 kilometres, gets to the foothill of the cliff where the sanctuary is rising. The place has a complex history, which is witnessed by the presence of various buildings that have been subsequently raised over a period of 900 years. The top chapel (the so-called relics), with pre-Romanesque columns and late medieval paintings, was reportedly inhabited by the hermit Saint around the year 1000. Other chapels were subsequently built in his honour, that slope down by steps on top of the cliff (some 70 m high). The 1514 church of St. Michele is remarkable, whereas the 1487 chapel dedicated to St. Giorgio boasts some magnificent frescoed paintings. The small convent of Franciscan friars is clustered amongst buildings, on top of a steep staircase with an entrance arch. It is a solitary, spiritual site, appealing to the bears that are housed nearby, in the memory of a legend that St. Romédio would have ridden the bear that had devoured his horse.
Taking the main road backwards, you’ll go down to Taio. From there, along an easy road (km. 1,7) you can reach the well preserved Castel Braghér. The fortified building is protected, on three sides, by the cliffs, and is located amidst a fir tree forest. The castle dates back to the 13th Century and subsequently became the property of the powerful Thunn household . The building, that looks massive and animated in the meantime, is protected by towers, and features a covered bridge and a square tower, that now is inside the Counts’ palace. In the castle courtyard rises the little church of St. Celestino (consecrated in 1462), that boasts an outstanding set of frescoed paintings attributed to Leonardo from Bressanone: the images describing Christ’s passion are characterised by a powerful dramatic style. Opposite the chapel rises the Count’s palace, the noble dwelling of the castle inhabitants (dating from 1600), housing a precious private archive and a unique collection of 16th and 17th Century paintings from both Italy and North European countries.
From Castel Braghér, the little village of Trés (3 km.) is well worth a visit, especially the little church of St. Agnese, boasting an important cycle of 15th Century frescoed paintings.