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Hidden Treasures - Itinerary "A peste, fame et bello"

The rural world of the past, constantly threatened by natural disasters, often sought the protection of the saints and the Virgin Mary by means of votive chapels, kiosks, altars, paintings. In Nago and Torbole these religious artifacts number in the hundred. On this itinerary some of the most significant are selected.


Start: Old harbor, Torbole or Piazza Gazzoletti, Nago
End: Piazza Gazzoletti, Nago
Length: 1,5km
Duration: 1h 30' to 2h.
Elevation difference: 150 m
Difficulty: medium
Notes: This route is not suitable for strollers and wheelchairs in the part of Santa Lucia road due to uneven terrain. You could skip steps 1 to 7 (reading the introduction at Nr. 1) and start from Nr. 8 after parking in Nago. The itinerary can be combined with "In Torbole with Goethe" on the return path. 

1. Introduction: Hunger, war and plagues in the rural world

The rural world of the past was constantly threatened by disasters against the people, the pets and the crops. With these misfortunes God punished his children for their sins. The faithful, therefore, turned to Mary and the Saints to intercede with God for His forgiveness and protection. The request to a Saint could be reinforced by promising to erect a material sign in their honor -  a shrine, an altar, painting and so on - to thank and glorify them.

A peste, fame et bello libera nos, Domine! From pestilence, famine, and battle, Good Lord, deliver us!
(from the "Lithany of the Saints")

The sacred shrines, called “capitello” in Italian because they were erected preferably "at the head" (Latin: "in capite")  i.e. at the beginning of the places where the protection of the Saint should manifest itself - the countryside, the mountain, the land, the house, at crossings where the roads end and start - remain as signs of a rural world which has since disappeared.
1.b The Old Harbor of Torbole

Until the mid-nineteenth century, the entrance to the port was closed with a chain at night. In case of large-scale epidemics, such as the plague, the port was closed off completely to prevent any landing and surveillance was strengthened with the construction of a wooden toll house for armed guards. In this way Nago and Torbole were spared from the plague that raged through Europe in 1628-30.
2. Bertamini House

The seventeenth century painting on the side of the house depicts the Virgin Mary and St. Rocco, protector against the plague.San Rocco was a pilgrim, as evidenced by his clothing (wide-brimmed hat and a shell used like a cup). During one of his pilgrimages he was stricken by the plague. For this reason he was banished from the community. Only a dog came to see him, bringing him bread, shown bearing the wounds caused by the plague. After he healed, St. Rocco devoted himself to caring for lepers.
3. Chapel of St. Vigil

As the cholera epidemic of 1836, which was raging in neighboring countries, approched, Pietro Romani, a  wealthy landowner of Torbole, promised to S. Vigilio to erect a sign of his gratitude if he and his family were preserved from the contagion.As a place of worship it  has now been abandoned, but until the seventies it was used as an occasional funeral chapel for the residents of the neighborhood.
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Official Garda Trentino S.p.A. - Azienda per il Turismo's site:

Riva del Garda (TN) Largo Medaglie d'oro, 5

Tel: +39 (0464) 554444 - Fax: +39 (0464) 025442

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Torbole sul Garda - Nago (TN) Lungolago Conca d'oro, 25

Arco (TN) Viale delle Palme, 1

Registro Imprese Trento, C.F. e P. IVA 01855030225

Cap. Soc. € 499.000,00 I.V. - REA N. 182762

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