Chiesa di S. Croce
The age-old Parish Church of Bleggio holds the wood from the Holy Cross
The church of Santa Croce is the seat of the ancient Pieve del Bleggio and dominates the wide basin of the Outer Valli Giudicarie. Since 1624, the church has been safeguarding the wood of the Holy Cross, which has been attributed with miraculous properties. Nonetheless, the building itself is much older in origin. A Romanesque crypt can be reached from inside the church and leads to a striking 11-12th century temple, whose central part has remained almost intact. The current building instead constitutes one of the few examples of a religious building in the pure Renaissance style in the Trentino area. Its look results from the 16th century re-styling by Lombard architect Antonio Gras. The skilled craftsmen who worked on it at the beginning of the 16th century, looked back at Renaissance architectonic lay-out of Santa Maria Maggiore Church in Trento, which Prince-Bishop Bernardo Clesio had commissioned in those same years. Indoor it features a number of paintings harking back both to that time and to following ages, as well as frescoed decorations by Carlo Donati.
The wooden altar located in the Holy Cross Chapel - with the Pietà as well as scenes from the Passion of Christ - houses the Holy Cross, which has been worshipped for over three centuries and is renowned even outside the Giudicarie area. Legend has it that a shepherd fashioned the cross using the trunk of two larches as a sign of gratitude for favours received. Deemed miraculous, the cross was taken on a procession to La Guarda, on Monte San Marino to beg God's protection against natural disasters, famines and war up until a few years ago.