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Under Doctor's Orders:

Story and photos by Tom Weber

the Dolomites, Trentino Alto Adige, northern Italy

ne of the benefits of undergoing medically prescribed water therapy where I did is that the magical H2O flows down from the Brenta Dolomites in the Trentino Alto Adige region of northern Italy, an area known for its grand vistas, colorful flora and intriguing fauna, superb wines and to-die-for regional cuisine.

signpost pointing to The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Carravaggio, Deggia, northern Italy

In between my two-a-day therapeutic baths, there was plenty of time to discover a host of nearby picture-postcard perfect villages and hamlets just waiting to be framed by my lenses. One such locale was Deggia.

a view of The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Carravaggio, Deggia, Italy

another view of The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Carravaggio, Deggia, Italy

A minuscule dot on the map tucked away in the Val d'Ambiez section of the Adamello Brenta Nature Park, Deggia is home to only three families, a llama ranch, an organic nursery, and the reason for my visiting this off-the-beaten-path destination: La Santuaria della Madonna di Caravaggio (The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Carravaggio).

cross just outside The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Carravaggio, Deggia

entrance to The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Carravaggio, Deggia

According to Roman Catholic tradition, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in the countryside around the village of Caravaggio in the Lombardy region back on May 26, 1432. Since that time, there have been other Marian apparitions attributed to Our Lady of Caravaggio, and votive churches built by humble communities who prayed to Her for divine intervention in times of great peril, like Deggia.

exterior of The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Carravaggio, Deggia

mural painting inside the The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Carravaggio, Deggia

columns and wooden door at The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Carravaggio, Deggia

The sanctuary was built shortly after Deggia and other nearby hamlets and villages were spared sure death, due to their prayers to Our Lady of Caravaggio, from a cholera epidemic that ravaged the rest of the Trentino back in 1858. Consecrated in 1862, the Santuaria della Madonna di Caravaggio votive church was enlarged in 1894 and again in 1898.

roughly paved road leading to the sanctuary

scenes along the way leading to the sanctuary

With plenty of time on my hands, several cameras draped around my neck, and an iPhone 5 firmly in my grip, I set off down the roughly paved road to visit the Sanctuary, and take in the pastoral scenery and enjoy the peace and quiet along the way.

stone cabin along the way to The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Carravaggio, Deggia

rustic fountain with spring water

herd of llamas grazing around a hamlet, Deggia

llama at a hamlet in Deggia

I was pretty much on my own throughout the three-hour photo shoot, stopping often enough to snap away, grab some mountain spring water from a rustic fountain, and chat it up – a one-way conversation, by the way – with the only breathing creature I came in direct contact with: an animated llama who stood out from the rest of the herd that was scattered around the hamlet and grazing freely wherever it was green.

panoramic shot of The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Carravaggio and roughly paved road

Three-hundred-plus shots later, I waived goodbye to Deggia and the photogenic [Fernando] llama and headed back to the spa-wellness center for my nightly soak in the therapeutic waters of Comano.

footbridge in Deggia

If you decide to follow in my footsteps to Deggia, then you might as well continue on down the road until you reach the larger community of San Lorenzo in Banale, a member of the elite club of Borghi piu Belli d'Italia (Prettiest Villages of Italy).

a ciuiga or minced pork sausage with sauerkraut and polenta, San Lorenzo in Banale

Along with its many picture-postcard perfect sights, the village is famous for its ciuìga, a sharp tasting sausage of minced pork and white turnips that's served with sauerkraut and polenta. Ciuìga carries the prestigious Slow Food stamp guaranteeing its organic roots and preparation, and is only made in San Lorenzo in Banale and nowhere else. Mmmmm.

flowers along a creek, Trentino Alto Adige region, Italy

For more information on other little gems dotting the Trentino, logon to the Department for Tourism and Promotion's English-language website.

house carved from bedrock, Rango, Trentino, Italy

On our next Under Doctor's Orders photo shoot around the Trentino, we'll head to Rango. It's one nutty village.

Related Articles:
Skiing the Dolomites; Sutri: A Canterbury Trail; Piazza dei Signori, Vicenza; ISCHIA: Eat, Drink and Whistle; The Riviera di Ulisse; La Rua: Vicenza's Wheel of Fortune

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Let Tom know what you think about his traveling adventure.

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Feedback for Destination Bosnia: Inside Sarajevo's Tunnel of Hope

Spent time in Sarajevo in the fall of 1973…beer was excellent!

--- David

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Hi Tom,

I must say, you're photographs are always amazing. They are top notch. You bring so much class to Traveling Boy. It's photographs like yours that make me want to go out and do my own traveling. Please don't get tired of sending us your amazing adventures. It's such a delight for the soul.

--- Raoul, Whittier, CA

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Hi Tom:

I'm also an American living in Italy. I've read with interest your blog and articles. I'd like to speak with you regarding residency and citizenship for Americans in Italy as you do seem to have a great deal of knowledge on all of these subjects. Would it be possible to give you a call on the phone? If so, please let me know how to reach you. If not, I can ask my questions via email.

Thank you!

--- David

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Hey Tom – Wow! Love those photos – they are so super that they make me A) Want to start eating NOW. B) Go there myself. C) See all that pristine beauty that looks so restful and peaceful. Great story, superb pix!!! Bravo!!

--- John, Los Angeles, CA

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Feedback for Destination Southwestern France: Saint-Émilion

Good job, Tom, and timely info. St. Émilion is in the list of places Jim Hayes and I will visit in September 2014. If we get the chance, we will exploit your experience to enhance the trip!

--- Bobby Harper, Dameron, MD

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Feedback for Vicenza Walks – Monte Berico

I lived in Vicenza for 4 years in the U.S. ARMY from 1963 to 1967. A wonderful place to explore. Palladio’s works are amazing. Have been back twice since and find new places to visit. My favorite is MONTE BERICO where I have some wonderful photos of my family.

--- Dr. Albert Pizzi, Hanover, MA

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I liked the new TB particularly the Vicenza article that took me back as a youth when we lived in Naples and travelled up there for a baseball tourney (U.S. Military Bases dependent schools played each other.)

Took me back to the plaza.

--- Bill

Feedback for A Canterbury Trail (Sutri)

Very interesting note. I have wedroned which route the early pre-Christian and Christian pilgrims travelled to Rome from England. Is it still possible to travel the Francigena trail?

--- Pawel

You can find out more info on walking tours of Via Francigena at this site: Thanks for stopping by and commenting..


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Good article, enjoyed reading it. Saved your recommended sights for future use.

--- Dardenne Prairie, MO

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You're going to be great at this Tom. Congrats.

--- Donna Vissa -Montreal

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