The journey to discover the art treasures on the left bank of the Piave River begins at the Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Lentiai, the northernmost offshoot of the diocese of Vittorio Veneto.
As you step inside, look up to catch a glimpse of the monumental wooden coffered ceiling completed with the pictorial intervention of Cesare Vecellio, who made other works in the church. The twenty panels depict scenes from the life of the Virgin inspired by the Gospels and the Apocrypha. The fixed frame is also fully painted, organized into 48 metopes decorated with scenes from the Old Testament and painted in monochrome to simulate bronze reliefs.
On the back wall of the apse, see the large polyptych made by Titian and his workshop. The celebrated artist organized the work of his collaborators and personally intervened by painting St Titian.
On the altars of the Blessed Sacrament and St John the Baptist, look at paintings on canvas by Palma the Younger with the Baptism of Christ and the Crucifixion conceived from the perspective of the Counter-Reformation.
Go to the small hamlet of Cesana to admire the cycle of frescoes in the church of San Bernardo. About 54 square metres large, it is somewhat unique in Belluno province.
Then continue to the hamlet of Villapiana to look inside the Church of San Bartolomeo characterized by frescoes depicting The Last Supper, with the special presence of shrimps, and an unusual St Bartholomew the Apostle.
The Church of San Giacomo in Colderù is the next place to stop. With a cycle of frescoes in 3 parts, the central one of which is attributed to the brothers Giovanni and Marco da Mel, it is a true artistic gem.
Next, proceed to the hamlet of Bardies in Mel to see inside the church of Sant’Antonio Abate. The walls of the single quadrangular hall of the little religious building are embellished with a pictorial cycle made in different phases from the 14th century to the 1670s. Among the artists whose works decorate it are the brothers Giovanni and Marco da Mel and Cesare Vecellio who made the panels narrating the stories of the saint the church is named after.
Still in Mel, you should see inside the church of Santa Maria Annunziata. The large Neoclassical style architectural structure is a veritable treasure trove of works of art. Among the many artistic testimonies to see inside, there is a stone sarcophagus and tombstone from the Roman era, a painting on canvas of the Preaching of St John the Baptist attributed to Cesare Vecellio, an Enthroned Madonna and Child and Saints Roch and Sebastian, and the Holy Family painted by Luigi Cima. What immediately draws your attention is the barrel ceiling decorated with stucco where you can see the cycle of frescoes by Giovanni De Min, aged seventy-nine at the time. Instead, the decoration of the apse vault was entrusted to Lino Dinetto in 1947.
In the hamlet of Follo, linger in the church of San Gottardo and Santa Maria Maddalena and observe the cycle of frescoes taking up the entire left wall. It is attributed to the painter known as the “Master of Fol.”
Next, go to the hamlet of Pialdier in Trichiana to look inside the Church of Santa Barbara. In the little chapel that opens on the right wall, there is a true gem of history and art. Formerly the presbytery in the older church, this space is embellished by frescoes created by Paris Bordon.
Continuing to Limana, stop at the Church of Santa Barbara in the hamlet of Pieve di Limana. Here, there is a polychrome wooden statue of the Immaculate Conception attributed to Andrea Brustolon.
Going up the road above the village of Giaon, stop at the Church of the Madonna di Parè, located in a panoramic position at the end of the path with the Stations of the Cross. These are the places mentioned in Dino Buzzati’s Miracles of Val Morel. Inside the building, you will be struck by the traces of frescoes on the walls and the large tempera painting by Belluno painter Girolamo Moech that entirely covers the ceiling of the hall.
In the municipality of Belluno, stop at the Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Castion to admire the beautiful altarpiece designed by Cesare Vecellio, a casual reinterpretation of Titian’s Assumption of the Virgin in Frari church, and end your trip at the little church of San Mamante in the hamlet of Caleipo. This small religious building was formerly a shrine frequented by many believers. Legend has it that there was a spring nearby apparently had the property to stimulate mothers’ milk and to cure the sick and feverish. The rooms are embellished with frescoes decorating the presbytery and dome and paintings on canvas by Frigimelica.