The village of Canale d'Agordo, once “Forno di Canale” is located at the entrance to the Valle di Garés, at 976 metres. It was once an economic hub for the entire Valle del Biois, thanks to the mining and forging enterprises at Garès and Sais. Now every year thousands of pilgrims come here to visit the place that gave birth to Pope Albino Luciani, the Smiling Pope.
This is a church that dates back to the XIII-XIV century. It is where Albino Luciani received his Christian calling, and where he used to love to return for long prayer retreats. The church preserves a tabernacle by Andrea Brustolon (1696), a marvellous organ by Gaetano Callido (1801) and other priceless works by various artists, including Amedeo Da Pos – the baptismal fountain, the statue of Pope John Paul I (1982) and the central altar by Dante Moro (1979), with sculptures depicting the most significant moments in his life.
Like any other Alpine village structure, this house was originally built with a mortar half for the living quarters and a wooden half used as a stall and hay barn. It actually appears as it did after it was restructured in the 60's; Albino Luciani would return here as Bishop and Cardinal to visit family or for periods of rest. At the moment the house is only visible from the outside.
Located in the hamlet of Tancon, la Casa delle Regole - the House of Rules - is a building that dates back to 1640, the year that appears under the ridge of the roof. This ancient building was the headquarters for the “Regole”, a committee made up of all the heads of families who managed the collective patrimony of pastures and woods. The group operated under specific statutes with extensive administrative autonomy conceded by the Serenissima Republic of Venice. This situation existed until 1806 when a Napoleonic Decree suppressed The Regole to make way for Municipal government. The building's facade is decorated with numerous frescoes: in the centre in the foreground is the “Madonna del Carmelo e Santi”, to the left there is a quadrant of a sundial; above there are architectural embellishments and images inspired by classical mythology.
In 1872, Father Antonio della Lucia decided to found the first dairy cooperative in Italy. Today you can see the original building in Canale d’Agordo. A progressive clergyman, Don Antonio also took on children's education, opening the first rural nursery school in 1868. He also planned and initiated the first consumers' cooperative in Caviola in 1871.
The “Via Crucis” starts from Piazza Papa Luciani, già Piazza della Pieve, and winds for about 2 kilometres along a semi-flat road until it comes to the community of Cavallera, in a peaceful, awe-inspiring natural environment. The road follows a series of huge white slabs of rock featuring fifteen bronze figures representing the "Passion of Christ", by the sculptor Franco Murer (2008).
In the community of Vallada Agordina, you can visit the church of San Simon, an ancient gem. Today this authentic, Alpine Gothic style testimonial to faith is a national monument. First evidence of its existence can be traced to a stamp by Pope Lucio III in October, 1185. Of particular note is a series of frescoes by Paris Bordon (1549). The church also conserves an antique Flűgelaltar (a cabinet altar) by Andreas Haller (1520) and an impressive organ by Gaetano Callido (1802).