The tourist walk that from Passo Gòbbera leads to the church of San Silvestro is almost a must for the inhabitants of the Primiero and Vanoi valleys. Passo Gòbbera (989 m asl), a low altitude but yet pretty alpine pass, is the easiest and most direct access point to the church. The church, located overhanging the valley of Schenèr on a promontory of the peak of Totoga (1,705 m asl), dominates the southern part of the Primiero Valley. When travelling through the Val di Schenèr towards Primiero, the church is visible after crossing the hamlet of Pontét. Traditionally a destination for pilgrimages when it was opening, thanks to its position, the church offers its visitors an extremely nice panorama.
The route starts from the church of the small hamlet of Passo Gòbbera (Canal San Bovo), which can be easily reached by taking the SP 79 road. Ignoring the two signs pointing to Monte Totoga, a few meters east of the church, the route starts descending towards San Silvestro (Signpost No. 346). After losing about 60 meters of altitude and having crossed the stream of Val dei Gardizzi, the path continues slightly uphill, cutting the ridge and the gully of Boàl de le Scàndole, in the shade of pine, fir, ash, beech and hazel trees, until it reaches the picturesque church of San Silvestro (965 m asl). From the church’s position, it is possible to have a complete view over the villages of Mezzano and Imèr, the Schenèr valley and the farms of Passo Gòbbera.
Before going back along the same way, the advice is to take all the time needed that this place deserves. Although short, it is a walk worth doing.
- From Passo Gòbbera (989 m asl), take the Signpost No. 346 towards San Silvestro,
- From the church of San Silvestro (965 m slm), head back following the same way. ✓
CHURCH OF SAN SILVESTRO
- Certainly, the presence of the ancient church right at the entrance of the Primiero Valley, on the steep cliff of the peak of Totoga, claims its roots in history and legend. The small church of San Silvestro (named after Pope Sylvester) was built in the 13th century. The church opens on May 1st, December 31st and on Easter Monday. It has always been a symbolic place for both Primiero and Vanoi valley’s identity.
- The story says that the place that was originally chosen for the construction of the church was much further downstream, next to the location of Masi (Imèr). The construction materials were left at that point, but the following day the builders found all the materials magically brought much higher (where the church sits today). After some attempts to bring the materials back to where the project was initially planned, the story continued in repeating itself, thus convincing the inhabitants of the presence of a divine will, indicating the correct place for the church.
- In the XVII century, it is reported the presence of a hermit, Cristoforo Segatta of Vigolo Vattaro, helped by the inhabitants of Imèr and Mezzano. Indeed, Segatta was not allowed to leave the church for more than 15 days a year.
- Inside the church, it is particularly interesting a fresco by Rocco Naurizio of AD 1544, representing Jesus and four evangelists in the form of animals and very similar to the fresco in the St. James chapel (Cappella di San Giacomo) in Tonadico, as well as the frescoes of scenes from the life and martyrdom of St. George, attributed to Marco from Mèl (AD 1540).
- Together with the churches of San Vittore, San Giovanni and Santa Romina, San Silvestro is one of the four edges of an almost perfect cross called “La Crosèra”. The cross, formed by two imaginary straight lines, was in the past a symbol of protection and devotion for the community of Primiero.