Famiglia Battisti

01 May 2020

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Have you ever heard of the Sanctuary of San Romedio? It has been called the most characteristic sanctuary in Europe! It’s a very ancient hermitage, built on a daring limestone rock (732 m) in the middle of a wild and isolated canyon. It´s rugged beauty can be even considered the symbol of Trentino.

According to the legend, a hermit saint named Romedio came down to the city of Trento, travelling on horseback of a bear, in order to meet St. Vigil.

Could that help to explain why up here “sen tuti en puech orsi” (we are all a little bit bears) ?! If you travel to Val di Non, San Romedio is a must see!

Why should you visit the San Romedio sanctuary?

I’ll give you at least three good reasons. Let’s save the bear for last. Believe me, there’s much more. First of all, the magic of the place. Five small overlapping churches, all built on a spur of rock and joined together by a long staircase of 131 steps. What a climb! But do not complain yet, when you’re up there you’ll thank me for the advice.

Second good reason? The hike in the rock that leads to the hermitage. Suggestive and relaxing but with a dizzying pinch: in short, the ideal way to emotionally prepare yourself to reach the Sanctuary.

Last but not least, the bear. Don’t be sad to see such a beast confined inside the sanctuary, there is a reason for that too.

The legend of San Romedio

The famous bears of the Sanctuary of San Romedio live in the wildlife area adjacent to the entrance in semi-freedom.

The presence of bears in this place of worship is linked to the legend according to which Romedio, by then an old man, had walked towards the city of Trento determined to meet the Bishop Vigil. Along the way his horse would have been mauled by a bear, but Romedio did not give up and approached the beast. He miraculously managed to tame and ride it to Trento. When on his return from Trento Romedio chose to devote his life to hermitage, the bear became his sole companion until his death.

Remembering this legend in 1958, Senator Count Gian Giacomo Gallarati Scotti, an honorary member of the WWF foundation committee in Italy, bought Charlie, a bear destined to die so that his skin could be sold, and donated him to the sanctuary of San Romedio. Since then, the wildlife area of the sanctuary of San Romedio has always given shelter to specimens of bears otherwise destined to a sadder fate.

Today the sanctuary of San Romedio is home to “Bruno”: a beautiful specimen of bear from Abruzzo.