The little old church of Saint James in Ortisei – the oldest in the Gardena Valley, dating back to the 12-13th century, although its outer Neo-gothic style bears testimony to a more recent renovation – is dedicated to the patron of wayfarers: Saint James the Great, brother of John the Apostle.
James was one of Jesus’s disciples and, according to tradition, went to Spain to evangelize the region. His body now rests in Galicia, inside the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela – which has been a famous pilgrimage destination since the Middle Ages, and of course is also dedicated to this patron saint of travelers.
No wonder the small building – on the Troi Paian road that connected the Isarco Valley to Venice, immersed in the forests of the Dolomites – can only be reached on foot! Start from the parish of Ortisei and cross grassy fields and larch and pine forests, reaching 1,565 meters of altitude after about one hour and a half.
Inside, admire the artistic wonders: there are 15th-century frescoes in the presbytery, and 16th-century paintings next to the pulpit. Outside, nothing but a breathtaking view of the Gardena Valley.
Enjoy your walk!