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St. Valentine's Church in Villanders


Churches, chapels & cemetery

Church St. Moritz in Sauders
The first documentation of the church dates back to 1406, but it is assumed that an earlier church may have existed on the site. In 1670 the building was renovated in baroque style. In 1793 the church together with the surrounding houses was reduced to ashes by the French. The interior of the church is covered by three cross vaults with sub-arches on simple pillars. The altarpiece of the main altar represents the patron saint St. Moritz. On the sides of the patron there are the statues of St. Georg and St. Florian and two bishops. Good work of the Baroque period are the representations of the fourteen Auxiliary Saints in small round-arched niches.

St. Michael's Cemetery Church

The Church of St. Michael at the cemetery is located only a few meters from the parish church of Villanders and was inaugurated in 1344. The lower floor of the church is now used as a mortuary chapel. St. Michael, the patron saint of the dead, watches over the cemetery, which is among the most impressive and beautiful in the region. The cemetery has a peculiarity in the position of the crosses for which there is no explanation: The fronts of the wrought iron crosses are not facing the burial mounds.

St. Valentine's Church in Villanders
The church of St. Valentine is located near the road from Chiusa to Villandro. This is a single-nave building that extends into the presbytery with a side spire tower. The first documentation dates back to 1303. Around 1400 the church was destroyed by a fire and during the reconstruction received instead of the flat ceiling a Gothic star vault. The altar inside the church is a beautiful work of neo-Gothic sculpture and represents Saint Valentine the Bishop and Saint Valentine the Priest at the side of the Virgin Mary (built around 1870). Ornaments on the halos and frames with geometric ornaments are typical for the beautiful style which reached Tyrol around 1400.

St. Anna Miners' Chapel in Villanders
As early as 1726, the first chapel for the miners of Pfunders/Fundres was opened. A few years later, the building was too small and in 1736 it was replaced by a Baroque construction with a choir and small bell tower. In 1934 the little church was restored, in 1964 it was plundered and devastated. This chapel was the religious center of the Pfunderer miners for more than 150 years. Until the 1st World War there was a weekly mass. The altar painting of great historical and artistic value is only a copy. The original is in the parish church of Villanders. It depicts the miners at work surrounded by their saints (St. Daniel, St. John the Evangelist, the Virgin Mary with the Infant Jesus and St. Anne and the miners' patron saint, St. Barbara).

Parish Church of St. Stephanus and Laurentius in Villanders
The parish church of St. Stephanus and St. Laurentius was consecrated in its present form in 1521. An older church, documented as early as 1234, stood to the southeast of today's bell tower where the cemetery is today. The lower part of the bell tower dates back to the old parish church. In 1900 the vault of the church burned down and the neo-Gothic decoration of the ceiling dates back to the following reconstruction. In the parish church there are interesting works of art: the high altar of 1884, the side altars of 1884, the side altars of 1903, the pulpit of 1867 and the Madonna del Rosario, a baroque work of art dating back to 1700. Of great artistic value are also the oil painting by Franz Sebald Unterberger representing the stoning of St. Stephanus and the decorations of the stained glass windows dating back to 1520 and depicting scenes from the life of miners.