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Dolomites   >   Locations   >   Val Gardena   >   Places to visit

Worth seeing places - Val Gardena

Selva - S.Cristina - Ortisei

Val Gardena Museum


The Val Gardena Local Heritage Museum exhibits valuable collections in the Cesa di Ladins in Ortisei with the following main attractions: wood carving art of the last three centuries, old wooden Val Gardena toys, picture collections of local artists, prehistory of Val Gardena, a collection of regional fossils and minerals as well as alpine fauna and flora.

Worth seeing places in Val Gardena:

Visit the crucifix of Sëurasas and the liddle Church fo S. Giacomo.


The Ortisei Parish Church is a product of the late Baroque period, with two side aisles added at the beginning of the 20th century. Inside the church are numerous paintings and statues, includ-ing a huge statue of St. Ulrich by Ludwig Moroder and an Adoration of the Magi by Josef Moroder-Lusenberg as an altarpiece. The finely carved wooden pews should not be missed, either.


St. Anne's Chapel was built at the cemetery in Ortisei at about the beginning of the 15th century and enlarged around 1515. The simple little building has a beautiful portal and a number of interesting old gravestones and memorial tablet.


Another unassuming building is St. Anthony's Chapel on the main square of Ortisei (built in 1673). It has a pretty ridge turret, which makes it a popular motif for photographers, and an altarpiece depicting the chapel's patron saint, St. Anthony of Padua, painted by the Swiss artist Melchior Paul von Deschwanden in the Nazarene style of the 19th century.


The Church of Saint Giacomo , called the "dlieja da Sacun", which is situated just above Ortisei (reachable only on foot) is the oldest in the entire valley according to historic documents. It lies on the timeworn "Troi Paian" way which once connected Veneto with the nearby Isarco Valley through the Dolomite passes, crossed the Gardena Valley and bordered the then "Stetteneck Castle". So it is not mere coincidence that the church here was dedicated to Saint James, protec-tor of pilgrims. The origins go back to the 12th century, given the traces of a Romanesque building. However, the present style is Gothic, as objects in Gothic and Baroque style adorn the interior. In fact the Gothic frescoes in the presbytery are noteworthy and date back to the late 15th century. The same is true about the wall paintings near to the pulpit which have just been restored and they refer to the legend of Saint James. The main altar is a valid example of the local artistic sculpture, in Baroque style, with curved columns, and gilt representations of the leading figures of the church, of apostles and angels (by the Vinatzer-Pescosta Sons around 1750). Nowadays, the sculptures that are found in the church such as the various objects on the main altar are imitations made by local sculptors. But the precious originals may be viewed and admired at the Gardena Valley Museum at Ortisei


S. Cristina, located in the middle of the valley near the ancient high- level track called Troi Paian, is the oldest parish in Val Gardena. A chapel dedicated to St. Cristina is thought to have stood here towards the end of the 12th century. Today all that remains of the Romanesque church, which is mentioned in a papal letter of 1342, is the wall of the bell-tower as far as the eaves. Later rebuilding and additional structures greatly changed the original character of the church. The choir was built in the Gothic period, and a polygonal charnel house was added in the 16th century. Other interesting features include the high altar surround, which was created around 1690 in the workshop of the famous Vinazer family of sculptors.


St. Mary's Parish Church in Selva Gardena: The 19th century neo- Gothic nave was demolished in 1988 and replaced by a modern octagonal structure. The beautiful chancel dating back to 1670, however, was preserved, complete with the painting of the Madonna with Child by Lukas Cra-nach on the high altar (now a copy). In 1503 Wilhelm von Wolkenstein had a chapel dedicated to the Virgin built here, which subsequently had to be enlarged several times to cope with the large numbers of people who came to this popular place of pilgrimage - as they still do today. On the outside wail of the sacristy there is a stone painted with the coat of arms of the Counts of Wolkenstein.


St. Sylvester's Chapel in Vallunga (Selva Gardena) is an attractive little building located at the beginning of the valley, just a few minutes' walk from the car park. The religious origins of the site are unknown, but since time immemorial people have come from near and far to pray at this chapel, which is dedicated to the patron saint of cattle. Restoration work carried out in 1993 revealed over 300-year-old frescoes depicting the life of Jesus.


At the cemetery in Selva Gardena there is a memorial chapel built in memory of the mountain-eers who lost their lives in the Dolomites of Val Gardena (like the legendary Emilio Comici in 1940). Their names are engraved for posterity in the great brass book.


The ruins of Wolkensiein Castle (in Vallunga-Selva Gardena) can be seen perched high up in the steep Stevia Wall like an eagle's eyrie. From the castie it is just a short climb up to the top.


Another attractive sight is the Chapel of the Holy Cross in Rasciesa di Fuori (built in 1755), which occupies a panoramic location at an altitude of over 2,200 metres.



Castel Gardena ("Fischburg"), which straddles the territorial boundary between Selva Gardena and S. Cristina, was built as a summer castle and hunting lodge. Although Renaissance in style, its massive proportions are more reminiscent of the medieval art of fortification. The castle is not open to the public, but it is still worth the walk to see the building from the outside.


The Monte Pana Sundial is of great interest to all hobby astronomers and chronometry experts. This splendid example of a spherical equatorial sundial is made of iron, brass and gold and rests on a ten-ton pedestal of porphyry. The sundial itself has a diameter of two metres and shows the true time for S. Cristina and for another 6o cities throughout the world, as well as Central European Time.


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