SAINT GIOVANNI NEPOMUCENO’S WAYSIDE SHRINE AND BRIDGE
Parallel to the Gardesana main road bridge, on Saint Giovanni stream, there’s another more ancient small bridge that was the main connection between the town centre and the olive groves until the construction of the Gardesana road. A wooden bridge has been there for a long time and it was only in 1647 that a stone construction was built. The building was damaged several times by the floods but it has always been reconstructed.
At the beginning of the bridge, at the northern end, there’s a wayside shrine with a statue of Saint Giovanni Nepomuceno, erected on the 16th June 1728.
Giovanni Nepomuceno was one of the most celebrated Saints during the 18th century. The sculptures, usually placed near rivers or stretches of water, remembered the way the saint was martyred.
Giovanni Nepomuceno was thrown in the Moldava stream, in Prague, by the order of king Venceslao IV in 1383. It is said that the Saint, confessor of the Queen Giovanna of Bavaria, irritated the king, by refusing to break the confessional secret.
Giovanni Nepomuceno was patron of the Austrian Imperial army, thanks to the personal devotion of the empress during the dominion of Austria, to which was joined the territory of Limone sul Garda. The saint was worshiped in the territories of the House of Hapsburg since 1724 and the statue was probably built also in honour of the empress Maria Teresa.
The veneration of Saint Giovanni Nepomuceno, canonized in 1729 under the pontificate of Benedict XIII, spread in different Europe’s countries and was included amongst the protector saints of the european continent.