As well as being one of the oldest settlements in Val Rendena, Caderzone Terme is known for its curative spa waters. A stroll through the old centre reveals numerous picturesque scenes: the steeply ascending streets paved with irregular rounded stones, the squares with their distinctive stone fountains, the wide ground-level surrounds on the houses, the granite portals and the wooden balconies blooming with flowers.
Nestled in the heart of the valley on the Casa river alluvial fan – whose past floods have wrought great damage in the area – Caderzone has been adroit in preserving its peasant tradition even as its inhabitants become increasingly involved in tourism. In the central streets and squares, lined by the ancient houses and their distinctive façades, and along the country lanes in the beautiful green plain just beyond the town, where old farmsteads are still in use today, the two faces of the local economy meet and go forward hand in hand.
History and traditions are encountered daily in Caderzone Terme: the Palazzo di Marco da Caderzone and the Bertelli Counts, the ancient Lazzaretto in Santa Maria and the centuries-old Maso Curio: all witnesses to a past rich in events that have become legend. The ancient customs are very much not forgotten and can easily be seen in everyday life and in the village festivals: the rites and ceremonies, the village band and the traditional costumes, as alive today as they were yesterday.
Points of interest
Maso Curio and the agricultural parkPerhaps one of the oldest testaments to local rural architecture (first documented in the 14th century), Maso Curio is a majestic stone farmhouse and with its original solid wood beams that is today still used as a farmhouse (although primarily for demonstrative purposes). On the outside of the house, there is a fresco dedicated to St. Anthony the Abbot (patron saint of animals) and St. Barbara (protector against lightning and fire), which is all too appropriate given that the farmhouse was actually involved in a fire in 1537, and certain structural beams still show signs of the fire and of the hatchets used to remove sections of wood that had been compromised by the fire. The farmhouse is perfectly nestled in a setting that has been intentionally kept in pristine condition, like the characteristic pastureland that extends from Caderzone Terme to Pinzolo and along which there are eight farms that raise Rendena cattle, a rare indigenous breed that is particularly suited to this sort of environment.
Church of San Biagio and its bell towerThe Church of San Biagio dates back to before 1361 and originally had three altars (San Biagio, Madonna del Rosario, and San Giuliano), but had no tabernacle or baptismal font. In 1853-1854, the old church was demolished in order to build a larger one on the same site. Construction was eventually completed and, in 1868, the church was blessed and consecrated before placing the remains of martyred saints Sisinio, Martirio and Alexander here. Today, the church has five altars (the High Altar, Our Lady of the Rosary, St. Julian, St. Anthony the Abbott and St. Roch, and St. Jerome) and has a great organ with 701 pipes, which was built in 1931. Constructed of hand-carved granite blocks, the church’s bell tower dates back to the mid-1200s.
Val Rendena Thermal BathsCaderzone Terme owes the name “terme” (meaning thermal baths) to the ancient discovery of an iron-rich source of water not far from the town centre. This water came to be known as “Acqua Forte di Sant’Antonio” due to its fortifying, restorative properties (used to treat anaemia, digestive difficulties, and other illnesses). It has been used for generations by local residents and was even commended in 1635 by the prince-bishop of Trento, Carlo Emanuele Madruzzo. Over the years, there were also efforts to promote Caderzone Terme as a spa destination, taking advantage of the benefits of nature to improve the future of this rural village, along the lines of what was done in Comano Terme. However, funds and connections were never enough for this business to truly take off, and the company founded for this purpose in 1928, “Società Acquaforte Sant’Antonio-Caderzone”, was forced to close. It was not until 2004 that this dream of becoming a spa destination would be realized, and now visitors to the area can enjoy the iron-rich Sant’Antonio water along with a whole series of innovative wellness services in modern facilities in the centre of town, right across from Palazzo Lodron Bertelli.
The Noble ChapelThe Noble Chapel (Cappella Gentilizia) commissioned by the local Bertelli family is a small, austere structure, a place of prayer and penitence. Built in 1677, it was dedicated to St. Anthony the Abbot in honour of the head of the Bertelli family, Father Gian Giacomo Bertelli, previously the parish priest of Sopracqua (a medieval community that encompassed the towns of Carisolo, Pinzolo, Baldino, Vadaione, Giustino, and Massimeno). Inside the chapel, there is a golden altar made of wood specifically for this chapel in 1677, which bears the “Our Lady of the Finger” (because it depicts the Virgin Mary lifting one end of a cloak with her finger) and a portrait of Christ in a crown of thorns.
Malga MuseumA malga is a sort of mountain-pasture farmhouse often used, in part, for the production of cheese and other dairy products. At one time, the malga was a cornerstone of the village economies in the valley, and these farmhouses today serve as a reminder of this. To preserve these memories, there is now the Malga Museum in Caderzone Terme, created in the early 2000s by local government and a number of local citizens, such as the artist Gianluigi Rocca. The museum features a rich exhibition of vintage tools that tell the story of this industry that was of such great importance to the Val Rendena area, all set within rooms that were originally used as stables, on the ground floor of Palazzo Lodron Bertelli in the centre of the town.
LazzarettoIn Val Rendena in the 16th and 17th centuries, the doleful measure of quarantining those afflicted with the plague was taken in order to both care for the afflicted and ensure that others could remain healthy. These quarantine stations came to be known as lazarettos (from the Italian: lazzaretto). Not far from Pinzolo’s Pineta park in the area of Santa Maria, the lazaretto of Caderzone is now used as a hay loft and other farm storage, although it maintains to this day, both inside and out, certain grim clues to its former use. Erected in the 1500s as a country home for the ruling Lodron family, it changed hands to the Bertelli family when they replaced the Lodrons as the new “lords” of Caderzone. During the 1630 epidemic, they altered the structure to increase its capacity and added a wall around the property (as the building needed to be kept under watch to prevent escape attempts) as well as a chapel, a large bread oven and a nearby cemetery. The fresco “Virgin Mary with Child and Saints Julian and Anthony the Abbot” on the outer wall of the lazaretto is the work of the Chinatti family.
Palazzo Lodron-BertelliPalazzo Lodron-Bertelli, the impressive residence of the Lodron family, was once an enormous, multi-level castle keep that was lowered over time and transformed into the home of the Bertelli family, who turned it into the most beautiful residence of the entire Rendena valley. Dating back to the early 14th century, it shares construction techniques and architectural style with Maso Curio. The building has always been a site of political power and of grand social events for the town and for the rest of the valley.