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Though Santa Tecla is the Parish Church, San Giovanni is the dearest church to people from Torno. Most of them have been baptized there and (being the nearest to the graveyard) they have prayed and said their last goodbyes to their loved ones. The holy building, whose construction was finally completed in 1494, is almost at the top of the village. The first time visitors set foot in San Giovanni they have a sudden jolt in their soul and if a sun beam comes through the rose window on the façade they can’t help but be moved.
The parish priest has recently had a hifi system installed in the sacristy to diffuse sacred music along the naves, making the church a place for solitary prayers who want to tune in on themselves. Above all San Giovanni is famous because it conserves one of the Crucifixion nails. The relic is well preserved and locked in a wooden chest with seven l o c k s whose keys were entrusted to seven families of notables from Torno.
The chest is well protected behind the high altar. But how did one of Jesus Christ’s Passion nails end up in Torno? As the story goes in 1099 many of the princes and knights who took part in the Crusades wished to go back to their home shores. A group of Alemannian warriors was among them, they were led by an Archbishop. Just before undertaking this very long journey, the Archbishop got hold of one of the nails which had transfixed our Saviour on the Cross.
The high prelate and his acolytes came to Como and there they embarked towards their coveted dwellings. The lake was calm and the day was sunny, everything was ready for a safe and peaceful navigation, but as soon as they reached Torno a storm blew up all of a sudden and the Archbishop ordered his crew to take shelter among the welcoming walls of the quay.
Once they docked at the pier the sun was shining again, they cast off and decided to set off but after a few metres, thunder and lightning took advantage of them and they were forced to go back. Once back in the harbor the storm quietened. There were other attempts, but every time they had the same problem. The Archbishop took it as a sign from heaven. Knowing that in the village there was a church consecrated to the Holy Cross, he decided to give the population those precious relics and once out of the quay he could sail homewards without any further obstacles.
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