Seven sisters lying in the sunshine
There are seven villas, called Prato, Prusa, Glolo, Berghi, Pergnano, Senaso, and Dolaso, that fit together like a puzzle to form San Lorenzo in Banale, nominated as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.
Spread out over sunny foothills and overseen from behind by the Brenta Dolomites, the village forms a gateway through the wild Ambiez Valley to the Adamello Brenta Natural Park, the largest protected area in Trentino.
A five minute visit will not be enough here, you will need at least seven, one for each villa.
We start at Prato.
Here you find the Natural Park Centre called "C’era una volta" or "Once Upon a Time", where the complete folk history of the local area is displayed inside the 1500s Casa Oséi building.
Moving on we come to Prusa, the lowest lying of the villas.
You can wander along its narrow lanes and stop to admire Casa Mazoleti with its attractive arched gallery and perfectly preserved sundial.
Proceeding in an anti-clockwise direction, we arrive at Glolo.
This was once an annex to Castel Mani, an old manner house destroyed during the Napoleonic invasions, with only a small section standing today. Following the old cobbled street of Cavada, marked with parallel ruts worn down by the transit of sledge carts loaded with hay and firewood, we arrive in Berghi, where the little 1600s church is dedicated to Saint Apollonia.
Continuing onwards we reach Pergnano,
whose church is dedicated to Saint Rocco and Saint Sebastian with fresco paintings by the Baschenis family from Bergamot. Their artwork has great chromatic impact, in particular the Last Supper and the heartrending Confession.
Still further on is the gorgeous Senaso.
Here in the smokehouse inside the old communal dairy workshop, the tradition has persisted over the years of smoking ciuìga, a salami of very humble origins containing turnip.
The seventh and final stop is at Dolaso,
with the oldest church in the village dedicated to Saint Anthony the Abbot. The panoramic square outside was once a collection point for goats before they were taken out to the meadows. Today it offers a fabulous viewpoint with a panorama extending out to the Tre Cime del Bondone peaks overlooking Trento.
In reality there are two more missing sisters: Moline and Deggia.
Today they are encountered by hikers following the San Vili or Frassati footpaths. At Deggia you can stop and visit the Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin of Caravaggio, built in the late 1800s with money sent home by emigrants. A place that brings peace to the soul.
Discover the fascinating story of the parish priest "Don Taialacqua" and the great intuition he had