The late-Gothic chapel, dedicated to St. Magdalena
, stands on a hill in the locality of Mareta, where it nestles in the beautiful landscape. It was built by the miners of Monteneve-Schneeberg. A chapel is documented as existing here in 1273: this was however destroyed by fire and later rebuilt. In 1480-81 the Ridanna miners constructed a larger, better appointed church. This shows that the mining industry was at the time experiencing a boom. The deposits of silver, lead, copper and zinc blende in the Ridanna Valley
have meant that men have dug for ore here since prehistoric times. The prosperity that the miners enjoyed in the 15th century was to be reflected in the church. Why it is dedicated to Magdalena and not to Barbara, Anne or one of the other patron saints of miners is unclear: it is supposed however that the name of St. Magdalena was taken from the churches the previously stood on the spot.
In art history terms, the four late Gothic altars form the heart of the chapel. The altar by Hans Harder from Sterzing dates back to the time of the chapel’s consecration: the representation of Magdalena is a rare example of a single-figure shrine. The high altar was created by Mattheis Stöberl of Vipiteno at the beginning of the 16th century and represents the ascension of Saint Magdalena, flanked by the miners’ saints George (with sword) and Lawrence (with gridiron). At their feet can be seen the founders of the altar in traditional miners
’ costume. To the outside are further paintings showing the patron saints of miners and other sacred themes. The altar was restored in 1861. The chapel contains two more late-Gothic side altars from the year 1526.
Its beautiful location in the midst of the wonderful mountain scenery also makes the chapel worth seeing from the outside: it is an ideal destination for walks and cultural excursions.