Sanctuary of San Besso, the church “crushed” by the rock – News

Close Bumpsnestled among the rocks of Val Soanaarises Sanctuary of San Besso, an evocative and unique place of worship. The small church, built in the 17th century, stands out for its particularity positionwhich gives the impression crushed by the force of the mountain. Between music, liturgies and festivals at altitude, San Besso attracts many visitors thanks to this and other legendary details. Let’s find out which ones.

San Besso, among the most beautiful rock churches in Italy

The Sanctuary of San Besso is a building of modest dimensions, built in local stone. Already this detail on the materials used fits harmoniously among the rocks of the Mount Fatono. In fact, a rocky spur of the mountain frames the historic building.

Seen from other angles, the rocky ridge appears almost a hat placed on the roof of the church. The austere simplicity of the facade embellishes this hidden corner among the majestic Graean Alps, between Piedmont and the Aosta Valley, in the Gran Paradiso Park.

The legend of San Besso and the church in the rock

The sanctuary bears the name of Bessus, a name that tradition attributes to a soldier of the Theban Legion, a Roman military corps made up of Christians. According to some scholars, their faith led them to martyrdom in the late 3rd or early 4th century, in Swiss Valais, for refusing to sacrifice it in the name of the emperor.

The Christian legionnaires were massacred at Agaunum (present-day Saint-Maurice, Switzerland), but Bessus survived by fleeing to the mountains of Val Soana, where he converted many mountaineers to the new faith. Perhaps he would then have been captured and thrown from Monte Fantono where he died a martyr, miraculously leaving his imprint printed on the rock. The “crushed” church would bear witness to its presence, well carved into the rock of the mountains.

The feast of San Besso and the paths to follow

The feast of San Besso is celebrated in the sanctuary on August 10 and December 1 each year. Although little known outside the participating communities of Upper Canavese and Cogne, it represents one of the most important Alpine celebrations.

Some researchers hypothesize that the legend of the martyrs served to evangelize a region that was still pagan. It is no coincidence that certain practices linked to the legionaries appear as a “Christianization” of previous rites, linked to the stone megaliths and fertility. The megalith recalls the rocks of the mountains which surround the sanctuary. The territory today offers numerous possibilities for excursions, activities, events.

How to get to the Sanctuary of San Besso

The complex is well located 2019 meters high, in Val Soana, about 20 km from Cogne. By car you can reach the town of Campiglia Soana and from there follow the signs to the sanctuary. It is possible to access it on foot, via a journey of approximately two hours.

In addition to the sanctuary, you can join the Mount Fautenio, which offers a panoramic view of Val Soana and Gran Paradiso. And once again, the Refuge Defeyes Hey the lakes of Place Moulina group of remarkably beautiful alpine lakes.

*Images – credits to @ig_ivrea

Leave a Comment