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Area:
  • 41,52 sq. km
Altitude:
  • 1,212 m a.s.l.
Population:
  • 414
Town Hall:
  • Fraz. Sauris di Sotto
  • 33020 - Sauris (UD)
Neighbourhoods:
  • La Maina, Lateis, Sauris di Sopra, Sauris di Sotto
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Located in a marvellous valley more than 1200 meters above sea level (which makes it the highest municipality in Friuli), surrounded by high, wild mountains, Sauris has led its life for centuries in isolation, before the daring road connecting it to Ampezzo was built between 1915 and 1930 according to precise environmental and human features. Sauris was the place where populations from Kärnten took refuge probably in the 12th century, and this accounts for the old “German” language still spoken here (the local dialect name for Sauris is, indeed, Zahre). German influences may still be seen in the style of buildings made of stone in the lower part supporting wooden upper floors, with the hayloft made of trunks crossing at angles (the blokbau technique), while roofs are covered with wooden shingles. A similar building now houses the local Ethnographic Centre. Sauris has always been linked to the worship of S. Osvaldo of Northumbria, to whom the Sanctuary preserving the relic thumb of the Saint was dedicated. Located at 1212 metres above sea level in a splendid alpine area, the once much visited Sanctuary is decorated with one of the greatest works in Carnia, that is the wooden altar with panel doors (flügelaltar) by Nicolò da Brunico (1524), still showing its original gilding and colours. Unusual in the scenes depicted, it is rich in tastefully carved figures, with great attention to the setting, according to the style of early 16th-century carvers from Alto Adige. Full-relief figures (for example, SS. Osvaldo, Peter and Paul at the altar centre) alternate with bas-reliefs and paintings, isolated statues alternate with scenes from the New Testament where the central element is not only the human figure but also the landscape. Of the other wooden altars in the Sanctuary, master Eugenio Manzani’s one with the Virgin of the Belt (1730) is worth mentioning, with its “whiteand- gold” colouring. Also the small church of S. Lorenzo at Sauris di Sopra, a typical 15th-16th-century Austrian building with the bell tower set against the left aisle, contains a lovely wooden altar, a flügelaltar carved and painted by Michele Parth in 1551. The central panel reproduces a bas-relief Last Supper while the door panels show, in softer relief, the Entrance in Jerusalem and the Prayer in the Garden. When the panels are closed, the painted figures of the Annunciation appear, and the biblical episodes of the bronze snake and the fall of the manna are painted in the predella. The lay-out of scenes, their technique, the plenty of gold and bright colours make the altar really pleasant to the eye. Another feature that has become part of the Sauris landscape is the wide lake created by the barrage of Torrent Lumiei, reflecting the surrounding mountains. But the small natural lakes of Festons, Malins and Mediana, partly covered with vegetation, are enchanting all the same and the destination of pleasant excursions.

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