Under Doctor’s Orders: Deggia — A Llama and the Virgin Mary
One of the benefits of undergoing water therapy to rid myself of a skin disorder is that the magical H2O flows down from the Brenta Dolomites in the Trentino Alto Adige region of northern Italy, an area known for its grand vistas, colorful flora and intriguing fauna, superb wines and to-die-for regional cuisine.
In between my two-a-day therapeutic baths, there’s plenty of time to discover a host of nearby picture-postcard perfect villages and hamlets just waiting to be framed by my lenses.
One such locale is Deggia, a minuscule dot on the map that’s home to only three families, a llama ranch, an organic nursery, and the hamlet’s main attraction: La Santuaria della Madonna di Caravaggio (The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Carravaggio).
According to Roman Catholic tradition, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in the countryside around the village of Caravaggio in the Lombardy region of Italy back on May 26, 1432. Since that time, there have been other Marian apparitions around Italy attributed to Our Lady of Caravaggio, and votive churches built by humble communities who prayed to Her for divine intervention in times of great peril — like my photo-shoot destination of Deggia, just beyond the reach of San Lorenzo in Banale.
The sanctuary was built shortly after Deggia and other nearby hamlets and villages were spared sure death, due to their prayers to Our Lady of Caravaggio, from a cholera epidemic that ravaged the rest of the Trentino back in 1858.
Consecrated in 1862, the Santuaria della Madonna di Caravaggio votive church was enlarged in 1894 and again in 1898.
With plenty of time on my hands, several cameras draped around and dangling from my neck, and an iPhone 5 firmly in my grip, I set off down the roughly paved road to visit the Sanctuary, and take in the pastoral scenery and enjoy the peace and quiet along the way.
I was pretty much on my own throughout the three-hour photo shoot, stopping often enough to snap away, grab some mountain spring water from a rustic fountain, and chat it up — a one-way conversation, by the way — with the only breathing creature I came in direct contact with: an animated llama who stood out from the rest of the herd that was scattered around the hamlet and grazing freely wherever it was green.
©The Palladian Traveler | ©Tom Palladio Images