San Giovanni church in Val di Funes: a truthful behind the scenes

The popular San Giovanni church in the photogenic Val di Funes (Dolomites) is very popular on Instagram. But practical information where to find this famous church or valley is difficult to find. How do you get to Val di Funes? And where exactly is the viewpoint of the San Giovanni (St. Johann) church? Is it really as idyllic as the photographs? Below is an honest, insightful behind the scenes of one of the most photographed places of the Dolomites.

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Quick facts about San Giovanni church

Travel time by car to San Giovanni church (one way):

Costs: €2 parking + €4 entrance (optional)

Where is the San Giovanni church in Val di Funes located?

How to get to to the San Gionvanni church in the Val di Funes: The San Giovanni church is in the small village of Ranui in the Dolomites. You can park right next to the grassy field at a small parking lot (coordinates: 46.6370170, 11.7208360). It is forbidden for camper vans to park here. Parking costs €2 and can only be paid in cash.

Famous photo spot of the Val di Funes

There is a clearly marked photo spot about 2 minutes walking from the parking lot. This will give you the iconic photo of the stand alone church with the iconic Odle mountains as a drop back. 

How to get up close to the San Giovanni church

If you continue up the road from the parking lot for about 5 minutes (by foot) you will reach the entrance to access the church from closer. Here you need to pay €4 in cash at the turnstile. The walking path on the grass is corded off to prevent people from walking on the grass. This gives you the opportunity to see the church from closer. The inside of the church is not accessible.

Private farmland around the San Giovanni church

Though the San Giovanni church seems like a tourist attraction, it is in fact located on privately owned farmland. Due to the large amount of tourists flooding the area, there are now many restrictions. There are shoulder high fences protecting the grass and there are “forbidden signs” everywhere. Flying drones is not permitted, neither is walking on the grass. It isn’t as idyllic as it looks on the famous Dolomites photos. 

Notice the fences? You are not allowed to leave the path so the grass stays nice.

San Giovanni church has many names

It can get a little confusing because this church has so many names: San Giovanni, St. John’s church or St Johann. They all refer to the same church! 

And to make it even more confusing, the Val di Funes also has many different names. It is also referred to as Villnösser Tal or Villnöss valley.

Instagram vs. reality San Giovanni church: The verdict

The high fences and signs everywhere take away from the once idyllic experience. The prices seem rather steep, but it’s a nice snapshot to take if you are passing through. Hopefully these behind the scenes photo’s help you decide whether or not you’d like to visit. 

Instagram vs...

What's next? What to do near San Giovanni church

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