st lorenzen fraktion maria saalen kirche
st lorenzen fraktion maria saalen kirche

Santa Maria di Sares

Santa Maria di Sares is the picturesque pilgrimage church of Our Lady of Loreto next to the pond in the hamlet of Sares

The Gschlierhof farm in Sares marks the geographical end of the municipality of San Lorenzo di Sebato and therefore the Ladin-German language border. However, the pilgrimage church of Sares is the main attraction of the rural village. A millennium ago, it was called Salarapach or Saalerbach (Bach means brook). Today Sares consists of a pond, the church, some mountain farms with names like Gasteiger, Krinner, Winkler and Obwegiser, and the historic Saalerwirt inn.

The Saalerwirt is one of the oldest inns in the entire Alpine region and it is also the one that comes into view immediately after the last bend as you follow the country road through woods and meadows to Sares (Saalen). Original pine panelling from 1730 still adorns its farmhouse parlours. Today it houses a hotel, while some of the surrounding mountain farms offer farm holidays. Right next to it is the Holy Mary of Sares Pilgrimage Church from the 17th century, where many a wedding and, in September, the annual pilgrimage procession are celebrated.

Inside is the wooden Loreto Image, which shows the black Mother of God with the infant Jesus. It is said that it was once found by a farmer in the field. He took it home with him, but the image kept returning to the same spot until the present church was built in 1652 AD. Here in Sares you can enjoy the rural tranquillity, hike to San Michele Castle, visit the pilgrimage church or walk along the Way to the Cross. Another trail brings you to the main village of the municipality, San Lorenzo. In winter, it is about 10 km to the ski lifts that take you to the Plan de Corones Skiing Area with its wonderful slopes and toboggan runs. In San Lorenzo, on the other hand, you can go ice skating.

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