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Church of St. Magdalena in Villnöss

The church of St Magdalena is located in the homonymous village in Villnöss valley. In its simple late Gothic beauty, the building perfectly harmonises with the majestic Geisler peaks in its background and is therefore one of the most popular photo motifs in South Tyrol.

According to a legend, a small statue of Sainte Magdalene was washed ashore after a heavy storm. Where it was found, there was later built this church. The votive tablet is still displayed in the church today, first mentioned in documents in 1394. The only church tower remained of the original building, as the present late Gothic construction dates back to the end of the 15th century.

The environs of St. Magdalena church

Apart from the asymmetrical reticulated vault, St. Magdalena has Baroque interiors. Wonderful as well are the paintings by Ladin artist Johann M. Pescoller of the year 1928 in the choir vault. Together with Mesnerhaus, the old school building and Obermesnerhof farm, the church forms an idyllic ensemble.

Not only the panoramic trail connecting St. Peter and St. Magdalena, offers fantastic views of the Dolomites – UNESCO World Natural Heritage. Be it easy family hikes or challenging mountain tours with fixed ropes – Puez Geisler Nature Park offers varied possibilities for active travellers. As well, the renowned alpinist Reinhold Messner was born in Villnöss, making his first hiking tours in the Dolomites.

The Nature Park house in St. Magdalena is worth a visit too: Here you can learn more about geology in the Dolomites.

Living traditions

In common language, the church of St. Magdalena is called “in Berge” which is also the main of every year’s fair at the end of July with a magnificent ceremonial procession.

Every three years, during the pilgrimage to Säben Monastery, the male pilgrims of Gadertal valley also make a stopover in St. Magdalena. The pilgrimage has been taking place since 500 years and last three days.

Moreover, visitors of Villnöss can also visit St. Johann church at the end of the valley, taking part of Ranuihof farm. The small Baroque church with a wonderful onion tower was founded by Michael von Jenner and offers a wonderful view in front of the Dolomites.

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