Camonica Valley is an area rich in art, spirituality, and UNESCO world heritage sites. But there is more: the valley is sprinkled with small villages thousands of years old; some evolved over time, others remained faithful to their history and cultural traditions.
One of the villages which has best preserved its past is Cerveno, a small municipality of about 680 inhabitants located in mid-Camonica Valley, between Breno and Capo di Ponte, at the foot of Concarena mountains and overlooking Oglio River.
The main attraction of Cerveno is Via Crucis Shrine, which hosts a true artistic masterpiece attracting several tourists and people seeking a mystical atmosphere and a break from everyday stress. It’s Beniamino Simoni da Saviore’s wooden sculptures.
After parking your car, walk towards Piazza Roma in the heart of the village. Enter the Shrine and head to the side chapels: a true marvel will appear! You can admire the 14 Stations of the Cross with 198 imposing real-size statues carved in wood, most of which were created by Beniamino Simoni – some were created by his apprentices and successors.
This work, an example of the Sacri Monti (Sacred Mountains) tradition in Lombardy and Piedmont, was completed between 1752 and 1764. It is an outstanding explosion of technique, passion, art, and religious culture. Numerous restoration projects contributed to the excellent condition of the statues.
Every 10 years, in the month of May, Cerveno hosts an event which involves the whole village and attracts thousands of people: the re-enactment of the Passion of Jesus Christ, a grandiose recreation of the last moments of Jesus inspired by the characters of Simoni’s sculptures. The event follows lengthy preparations along the streets. It is followed by silent, meditating crowds and culminates in the procession towards the area in the valley designated as Golgotha.
The next edition of the sacred representation will be in 2022; Cerveno residents are already at work.