The first historical notes on Madonna di Campiglio date back to 1188 and are included in a letter to the Trento bishop, Corrado II from Beseno. At that time, in particular around 1180, a certain Mr. Raimondo built a little hospice in this area for his soul, in honour of the Blessed Virgin, the Mother of God, “to help the poor and to shelter the passing people at Monte Campiglio, in a solitary and uninhabited place where often who pass was pillaged and killed”.
Soon other believers added to the good Raimondo and they joined their properties; so, thanks also to the generous oblations of the benefactors, the monastery-hospice was enlarged and supplied with a chapel dedicated to the Holy Mary, from whom the home and the place took the name.
For centuries the institution carried out the function of hosting and feeding the pilgrims. After some years, the original chapel was changed into a beautiful sanctuary with three naves and three altars till 1895, when it was demolished because it was crumbling. It was replaced with the present alpine little church in neo-Ghotic style, all in the local granite, that was inaugurated on 16th August 1895.
The Austrian Court, who chose Madonna di Campiglio as summer resort, and first of all, the Francesco Giuseppe Emperor, wanted to bind their name to this sacred place, donating the pulpit and the confessional at the top of the nave (where the name of the Emperor is written both in German and Italian), the pine planking with the most popular Saints figure and some beautiful windows.
On one of these windows the St. Bartolomeo apostle is represented, patron of the parish, who drew the knife of his martyrdom, while on another one there is the figure of Carlo Magno, who in some German dioceses was venerated as a saint and to his name is dedicated the near Pass. On the floor there is the Franz Joseph Oesterreicher tomb (1848-1909), the natural son – it is said – of the Austrian Emperor.
On the decorated pews, you can read the names of the donators, written in Ghotic characters. Among them there is that of the Righi family, worthy for his member Gian Battista, who was the pioneer and the main promotor of the tourist development of Madonna di Campiglio.
In the little church of Santa Maria Antica, there are some details that are worthy of particular attention from an artistic point of view:
1. The age-old Crucifix, in Nordic style, in the presbitery arch that dates back to the twelfth century.
2. The beautiful triptych of the Madonna with the Christ Child and Saints (St. Barbara with the chalice and St. Caterina with the martyrdom wheel) who dominates in the middle of the presbitery. Four episodes of the Vergin life (Annunciation, Crib, Visitation, the Magi Adoration) are represented and there are four pictures of the most famous Doctors of the Church. Moreover, there are eight family coats of arms, the most ancient of which is of the bishop Giovanni IV Hinderbach (benefactor and promotor of this hospice as other ones of the region). All the work is by Maestro Narciso School, famous figure of the Alto Adige sculpture and of the Late Ghotic period.
3. The wooden sculpture of the “Vergin of the Fic” of the Fourthteenth century, to which several pilgrims addressed for centuries.
Near the ancient chapel there is the new church: it was built in 1970-72 on the project of the achitect Marcello Armani of Trento, who balanced the liturgy demand with the modern architecture.
The church has an irregular facade and wall, that remember the mountain outline.
The big roof has in part the shape of a hut, in part that of a tent as to remember that life is a transitory passage toward a more secure and defined destination. The church is basically built in wood and granite
Particular is the circular shape and sloping indoor, where the believers are around the altar feeling united and sharing the God’s Holy Communion.
Campiglio has been choosen as the place of the “Madonna of Europe”, hope and symbol of the spiritual and moral unification of the continent. The canvas, blessed by Giovanni XXIII, is by the Spanish painter Joaguin de Angulo y Garcia and it reproduces freely a fresco of the 1502 which exists in Algecira- Gibilterra. The effigy is shown in the church of Campo Carlo Magno, built in 1997.
The church, with the hut shaped roof, cherishes some frescoes ascribed to Cristoforo Baschenis (first years of the Sixteenth century) and, probably, other frescoes from the facade ascribed to another painter (1481).
The facade, above the granite portal , is beautifully frescoed: in the big Ghotic lunette there is the Deposition, on the sides six saints and the date of 1481. The indoor is frescoed as well.
It has medieval origin - documented from 1312 - and it was guarded by an hermit till 1850. According to the popular tales, this hermit was maintained by the charity of the faithful. He died in a freezing cold day of January and the local plants bloomed to inform people of the hermit death.
In the artistic temporary period from Gothic to Renaissance, many religious buildings in Trentino were frescoed by Baschenis family from Averaria.
For more than eighty years, from 1474 to 1555, Baschenis painted thechurches facades and interior. The aim of both personages that commissioned the works and the artists was to educate people through images, exhorting a life far away from sin through a kind of medieval “biblia pauperum”
S. Stefano church is an evocative church on a rock crag, overlooking the whole valley.
The southern part is entirely frescoed by Simone Baschenis paintings; Danza Macabra is the main subject, together with the seven deadly sins (1519-1532).
Inside, there are frescos of varied periods like San Cristoforo depiction, on the left side of the outer steps.
The church is gothic on Romanesque strucutre, and has a bell tower with Romanesque mullioned window with two lights. According to tradition, it was built in an area where previously a castle was destroyed by Carlo Magno.
It was founded in 1362 and then widened in 1515. It has a rectangular map with three
naves, arches and pointed vaults on granite columns.
The medieval facade has different frescos: the most important is Danza Macabra, that is also on the outer facade of Santo Stefano church in Carisolo.
Both the frescos were realized by the painter Simone II Baschenis di Averaria, who lived between 1490 and 1555 and is considered the most famous and important painter of Baschenis family, that painted many churches in Trentino between the half of 1400 and 1500.
The fresco of Pinzolo is more than 2 metres high and more than 22 metres long, with captions in local dialects and vernacular: it is a sort of monologue acted only by the dead, that invites the living to come in the dance.
The procession of danza Macabra starts on the left, with the figure of Death playing the bagpipes: seated on a kind of throne, it is crowned to symbolize its absolute supremacy on the whole mankind. Then there are 18 figures of different religious and social categories, like a Pope, a cardinal, a bishop,a priest,a friar, an imperator,a king, a queen and a duke. Then a doctor, a warrior, a vain young, a beggar, a nun, a lady and a child. Each of these figures has his own skeleton and a writing in verse.
On the right there is Death, depicted as a skeleton with a quiver full of arrows that rides a winged white horse treading on the dead bodies on the ground. In the last part of the painting there are S. Michele archangel and the Devil.
The whole fresco is characterized by a particular attention to the details and a variety in the attitudes and expressions of the mocking skeletons.
The painting was ended in October 1539 and, together with the other frescos inside the church of San Vigilio (dated 1539 as well), they represent the main pictorial whole by Simone II Baschenis di Averaria
From the little square of the village, along a little road with walnuts, you can reach S. Giovanni Battista church, one of the characteristic cultural element of Rendena valley.
It is a medieval church, restored in the Sixteen century and frescoed by Simone Baschenis.
On the main facade there is a big granite portal with a cross carved in the lintel; on the left there is S. Cristoforo fresco with saints and
the Rendena landsape in the background.
Above the portal there is a Madonna with Child and angels, the saints Antonio Abate and Giovanni Battista (S. Baschenis).
In the frame below there the date 1553 and the memory of the rebuilding in 1964 made by Massimeno municipality to" Francesco Comiti muratore comasco” (Como bricklayer).
The walled-in granite stoup is linked to a singular legend: people that wanted to have a baby had to put their head into the hole.
The placed where the church is placed is called "Castèl": according the popular tradition, on the plain just above at 890 mt there was the original village of Massimeno, then destroyed by a landslide or a fire. It was probably an area of a prehistoric fort, as indicated by the toponyms "Guardia" (guard) and "Torre" (tower).
On the eastern shore of S. Giuliano lake there is the sanctuary-church dedicated to S. Giuliano di Cilicia. The church, yet famous for its spring of "good water for fever", was guarded by an hermit in the past.
The first document of the church is dated 1292. It is supposed that the church was rebuilt in 1488 by Lodron family in the place where, according to tradition, S. Giuiano retired to expiate the killing of his parents-in-low due to a tragic error of gelosy for her wife.
The present church was built in 1868.
During the summers from 1649 to 1654, the prince bishop Carlo Emanuele Madruzzo liked to stay in the building near the little church.
The works of Baschenis, the itinerant painters from Bergamo, started in S. Antonio Abate church in Pelugo, where Cristoforo, the first of the dinasty to come in Trentino, painted an important fresco of S. Anotnio Abate above the church portal in 1474. This work was finished with the help of his brother Simone: for the first time in St. Antonio Abate church there is a cycle dedicated to only one topic with many images and vernacular captions.
The church has a wide nave and a peculiar Romanesque bell tower with Ghibelline cusp.