may not find this tangibly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a
good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught
up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
and the Centovalli
into Switzerland on the scenic route home: here's a rainy market day in Locarno,
the Piazza Grande on an April Saturday with the tourist train.
Piazza Grande is Locarno's centre, just 5 minutes inland from the decorative lakefront
and steamship piers
Museo Archeologico on the right, continuing back into the Castello Visconteo beyond
the end of the alley
Visconteo, a 13th century fortress built by the Visconti dukes of Milano but badly
damaged by an invading Swiss army in 1513.
Visconteo on a grey day
of the castle with the Museo Archeologico behind
and seventeenth century streets of the old town, some 40 meters up the hill from
kids have had enough of dog poo on the streets, and they're not going to take
envisage a world without dog poo.
rockclimber mannequin poised to burgle the apartments above the sports shop
gardens in the Muralto district just east of the port
festive lake boat pulling into Locarno port
back towards the Simplon via the Centovalli, we pass this imposing Taj Mahal wannabe
in the village of Re (yellow dot on the map below). This is the Santuario della
Madonna del Sangue ("Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Blood", yechh). You'll
never guess what happened! Well, in the 14th century there was a religious sort
of statue here called, unfortunately, Madonna del Latte or Our Lady of the Milk,
and in 1494 (April 29th, this is almost the anniversary), some drunk guy lost
a sporting match and threw a stone at the statue and then, guess what, profuse
loss of statue blood all over the floor, for more than 20 days. (Some of the holy
statue blood's still there in little bottles behind the altar.)
after the local mayor of Re attested to the authenticity of all this statue blood,
word got passed round through miracle-veneration circles and pilgrims started
showing up and looking for something to drop financial offerings into, and so
the sanctuary was built in the early 17th century to "welcome" them
to the village of Re. That's the sanctuary there -- no, not the Taj Mahal thing,
the little one.
one, this is the early 17th century sanctuary which helped to establish the brisk
trade in miracle pilgrims. So as the fragile popularity of Santa Maria del Sangue
grew and word spread farther, a new basilica was needed to accommodate all that
the big thing was completed in 1958 and now we can rest easy in the confidence
that the bloody statue's got a good home.
at the Simplon Pass