st pauls dorfansicht von aich aus blumen
st pauls dorfansicht von aich aus blumen

Dome in the Countryside

The oversized parish church of the historical wine village San Paolo is one of the most important sacred buildings of South Tyrol

San Paolo in the Oltradige area belongs to the municipality of Appiano and is site of the "Dome in the Countryside" or "Rural Cathedral" - "Dom auf dem Lande" in German, "Chiesa Parrocchiale della Conversione" in Italian. The church with the 86 m high steeple seems to have been constructed for a town and is visible from afar. It is dedicated to the Conversion of Paul the Apostle. In former times, San Paulo was the main village of the municipality of Appiano, and numerous aristocrats have been settling down right here. Already in 1147 AD, it appeared as the richest parish of the entire region.

As they wanted to manifest their wealth and as a status symbol, the inhabitants of San Paolo had this huge church constructed between 1484 and 1533. The building time of the steeple lasted from the late 15th to the 17th century, which means that construction took more than 250 years. Therefore, the steeple of the San Paolo Parish Church boasts Gothic and Baroque elements - its onion-shaped roof dates back to the Italian Baroque period. In the inside there are 9 huge bells - one of them is the second biggest bell in the region, founded by the Grassmayr bell foundry in Innsbruck. The bells call up for the Holy Mass with their deep tones.

Particularly worth noticing is the sundial of 1718 and the funerary monuments of the aristocratic families Firmian, Khuen and Thun. In the inside, it was realized as a late-Gothic hall church with three naves. The high altar as well as the side altars are the work of the artist Michael Stolz from Innsbruck. Another peculiarity: It is far and wide the only church that is dedicated only to Saint Paul. Usually the Saint is always mentioned related to Saint Peter. And how to reach the "Dome in the Countryside"? Near the village centre there are parking lots, furthermore it is easily reachable by means of public transport, connecting San Paolo to Bolzano and the surrounding villages.

Contact info

Opening times

freely accessible during the day


freely accessible

More information

Church service (in German language) every second Saturday at 7 pm, every Sunday at 10.15 am.

The historical church tour in San Paolo is offered from spring to early November.

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