Under Doctor's Orders: Deggia (TN), Italy | ©Tom Palladio Images

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.

Under Doctor's Orders: Deggia (TN), Italy | ©Tom Palladio ImagesOne 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.

Under Doctor's Orders: Deggia (TN), Italy | ©Tom Palladio ImagesThe 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.

La Santuaria della Madonna di CarravaggioI 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.

Three-hundred-plus shots later, I waived goodbye to Deggia and the photogenic [Fernando] llama and headed back to the Grand Hotel Terme for my nightly soak in the therapeutic waters of Comano.

©The Palladian Traveler | ©Tom Palladio Images

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Written by The Palladian Traveler

Tom traded his hometown St. Louis Cardinals' baseball cap in the United States for a Borsalino and he now hangs his "capello" in the Puglia region of southeastern Italy. A veteran print and broadcast journalist, with well-worn passports that have got him into and out of 50 countries and counting, Tom fell in love with the "Bel Paese" years ago. As he notes, "I'm inspired by the beauty I find in all things that are very, very old, and reliving history, or at least meandering along cobblestone streets that were laid down over a thousand years ago and just looking up and marveling at what occupies the space still today, really gets my 'Vespa' running." Tom has a good eye behind the lens and is a graphic storyteller, but he'll let you decide as he keeps his camera batteries fully charged and the posts flowing from his creative hideaway in the hills overlooking Ostuni. You can also follow his dispatches along the cobblestone via TravelingBoy.com.

13 comments

      1. I hope none of them spit at you! In Wyoming, as well as other places, there are people who use llamas as guard animals for cattle and other herd animals. It’s not uncommon these days to see a llama with cattle–the melding of two cultures in a way.

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  1. This is exactly the type of place I love to visit for an afternoon. Thanks for taking me along – and for some reason your photos turned out better than mine. 😀

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  2. From your beautiful pics, Rich and I want to go there. Is it near Villabasa? Is Italian Health Care paying for it because I know Obamacare will pay for us. Healing to you! Sue

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    1. Hey Sue — The Terme di Comano, during late January, is just about winding down from its mid-winter opening. I’ll about the exact dates and will let you know. The Terme is about 1.5 hours south of Villabasa. It’s a straight autostrada shot down to Trento, then about 20km up the mountainside to the magical waters. Good to know the medicinal side of a stay here is covered by ObamaCare, or your personal health insurance.

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