St John in the Valley – Dolomites Church

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The beautiful church of St John in Ranui stands isolated within the Dolomites’ Val di Funes.

This is one of the most iconic churches in the entire Italian Dolomites region, though perhaps one of the smallest. This is the church of St. John in Ranui (or St. Johann, or San Giovanni, depending on which of the local languages you are reading). Ranui is not much of a town at all really – only a cluster of three or four buildings, that’s it. To me, that was one of the craziest things about the Dolomites: just how few people it takes to warrant a church. A few huts high on the hillside? They get a church! Three or four houses down in the valley? They get a church! A small town of a hundred or so people? They get three or four churches! It just goes to show how much dedication for their religion these people had, especially when you consider that most of them were built when this area was truly isolated, and construction projects were a serious undertaking in such a mountainous region.

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