| Under Doctor's
Story and photos by Tom Weber
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.
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 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
For more information on other little gems dotting the
Trentino, logon to the Department
for Tourism and Promotion's English-language website.
On our next Under Doctor's Orders photo
shoot around the Trentino, we'll head to Rango. It's one nutty village.
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