Prokulus church in Naturns
The romantic church in the east of Naturns is surrounded by apple orchards and appears to be very simple and inconspicuous at first glance. The original church dates back to the time between 630 and 650 AD, but was redesigned and expanded over the centuries.
During the restoration works in 1912, pre-Carolingian frescoes were discovered that were presumably built in the 7th or 8th century AD. In fact, the impressive paintings are part of the most significant art treasures of Middle Europe and of the only frescoes of this era throughout continental Europe. They probably show, for instance, scenes of the life of St. Prokulus, a former bishop of Verona.
St. Prokulus church in Naturns also has Gothic frescoes dating back to the 14th century. Some of these younger frescoes were removed, in order to unveil the frescoes of the Early Middle Ages. Today, they are displayed in the museum next to the church.
Prokulus Museum – 1,500 years of history
The contemporary building right next to the church was opened in 2006 and is majorly built underground. It displays the Gothic frescoes that were removed in Prokulus church as well as finds from the church and surroundings.
Four stations offer video projections about late antiquity, the Early Middle Ages, the Gothic period and the plague era in Naturns and bring 1,500 years of history to life.
The archaeological findings were discovered during excavations in the 1980s. They reveal that the church was built on remnants of an antique building that had become a burial place after a fire.
When the plague came to Naturns in 1636, the epidemic killed a quarter of the whole population. For fear of infections, the plague victims were buried beyond the village near Prokulus church.
Thanks to the graves of different eras and to the burial gifts, the scientists could learn a lot about the region’s history. These discoveries are accessible to the visitors in the Prokulus Museum.
Prokulus church and the museum can be visited during the opening hours. Guided tours are offered on request.