hafling st kathrein kirche
hafling st kathrein kirche

St. Catherine Church

The little St. Catherine Church with the Haflinger horses is one of the most famous South Tyrolean photo motives

The little Romanesque mountain church of St. Catherine - "St. Kathrein Kirche" in German, "Chiesa di Santa Caterina" in Italian - is visible from afar. It is located on a hill in Avelengo, more precisely in the same-named district called Santa Caterina di Avelengo. It is one of the sights of the village where the Haflinger horse come from, and a famous photo scene of South Tyrol. This little church, like many others, is said to have been built on the site of a prehistoric cult site. Presumably there was already in the 12th century a place of worship here, which burned down.

After the reconstruction, it was rebuilt in 1452 in Gothic style and again consecrated to Saint Catherine of Alexandria. The massive four-storey tower dates back to this period. Inside, the little St. Catherine Church has a Gothic apse from the 13th century, well-preserved frescoes from the 14th century showing the life of St. Catherine and a late Gothic Tyrolean winged altar from the 15th century. The two Baroque figures on the triumphal arch show St. Florian and St. Roch. Today, the sacred building offers a fantastic view on Merano and the mighty Texel Group.

The St. Catherine Church is also subject of a legend: Two giants helped to procure stones for the construction of the church. At the same time they had promised to help also with the construction of the church in Lavena. But they had only one hammer, so they had to share it. During an argument, the giant working in Lavena got so upset that he threw a rock at the other giant. It narrowly missed him and flew until the St. Catherine Church, where it remained lying in the meadow and can still be seen today. And how to reach the little church? Several tours lead past it, such as the hike from Avelengo to the Sulfner Pond and the one to the St. Catherine Church. Starting in the hamlet of Santa Caterina, however, it is only a short walk.

Contact info


visible only from the outside

guided church tour:
for free, reservation needed

More information

During the warm months of the year, the inside is visible through a window in the door. The guided church tour will be offered from May 21 to November 4, 2024, every 2nd Monday at 4 pm (1 hour), in July and August every Monday (reservation: +39 0473 279457). Meeting point: church.

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