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St. Ermete Church

Town: Calceranica al Lago
The oldest church in Valsugana stands in the historic center of Calceranica al Lago on a rocky rise where an altar dedicated to the goddess Diana was found.

It is a Romanesque Gothic building that has on the south a beautiful red stone portal and on its architrave bears the coat of arms of the Counts Trapp and the inscription in Latin: "The year 1512 this church was restored by the noble Trapp, Lords of Beseno and Caldonazzo. Fabiano Rillas, captain of Caldonazzo, commanded to note".

The church has an open facade on the outside and it is supported by the red stone arch to form the apse and the presbytery, in which the wooden altar with an oil altarpiece of unknown was placed after the Council of Trent. This depicts at the top the Madonna and Child with St. Anne, at the bottom center St. Joseph and St. Joachim ( the family members of the Madonna). On the sides are St. Hermes and St. Augustine. St. Hermes is in Roman senatorial capacity and holds in one hand the staff of command and in the other the palm of martyrdom.

On the walls, on the sides of the triumphal arch, there are two frescoes, brought to light in 1883 and recently restored, discovered by chance during the repair of the ceiling. The one on the left represents the Holy Trinity with St. Nicholas and another holy bishop with the inscription "Cristoforo della Bottega f.f. 1578), certainly an important person from Calceranica who ordered the work. The other fresco, on the right, offered by Count Trapp, depicts the Madonna of the Rosary between Saints Rocco and Lorenzo, deacon and martyr.

The interior of the church was all covered with paintings, so was the atrium and vaulted ceiling, but nothing remained. Inside the church there is also the famous altar of Diana in white ammonite limestone, cited by Mariani in his "History of the Council of Trent" (1673). Located for a long time outside the church, it is now inside the same, in front of the side entrance.

However, where the church manages to express the best of itself, that is its essence as a rare example of an ancient sacred building for centuries, is in its external appearance: a few gentle and harmonious architectural lines, covered by a patina of antiquity that gives it a great suggestive force.

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