Eremo di San Colombano
The evocative hermitage of San Colombano carved in the rock
The hermitage is located at Trambileno, near Rovereto. It is carved in the rock and can be reached by climbing a flight of 102 steps cut into the rock ledge one access after crossing the gorge of the river Leno.
It was built in 1319 and named after Irish saint Columban, who lived between 543 and 615. As the legend goes, he took over the cave after killing the dragon who previously inhabited it.
From 753, several natural grottos located at medium height on the rock face, housed a hermit, who probably came from the Monastery of Bobbio. Between the end of the 10th and the beginning of the 11th century a small church was built near the cave's opening, beneath the overhanging rock ledge. This hermitage, also called the Hermit's Cave, was used until 1782 and, after the abolition of the eremitic practice, was tended by the people of the valley.
In 1996, the Autonomous Province of Trento had the church refurbished, especially indoor, taking it to its original beauty. There are frescoes depicting the struggle between Saint Columban and the dragon and a representation of Paradise. The main altar features a 15th century Madonna with Saints.
The walls also show numerous graffiti of invocations made by pilgrims through the centuries, as well as ex-votos. Every year an evocative torch-lit procession is held at Christmas after which a mass is celebrated.