In the Middle Ages Novacella was a subsidiary congregation of the parish of Natz (a village on a mountainside plateau above Novacella). It became and independent parish in the mid 15th century.
|St. Margaret’s church was first mentioned in a document dating from 1293. The church was modified and extended with three altars before being consecrated and dedicated to St. Margaret by the Bishop of Brixen Nikolaus Cusanus in 1455. The present-day building dates back to that period. Oswald von Wolkenstein, the famous medieval troubadour, donated a night light to the chapel in 1419 out of thanks for the recovery of his wife Margareth from a bout of sickness, apparently after praying for intercession by her namesake.
In 1664/65 the church was refurbished in the baroque style by Giacomo Delai and the present-day baroque altars date from then. The altarpiece depicts the heroic acts performed by St. Margaret in staying true to her faith. She was thrown into a dungeon for refusing to adore the gods of the Roman Empire. The right hand altarpiece is by Stephan Kessler. The two patron saints acting as intercessors and protectors against the plague, Sebastian and Roch, are a reminder of the year 1636 when an epidemic claimed half of Novacella’s inhabitants.
The Gothic style steeple of St. Margaret’s gave way to a baroque dome with lanterns in 1687.
The frescoes exposed in 2000/2001 on the northern wall of St. Margaret’s are a picture book of the life of the saint, painted at the time of the church’s consecration in 1455. An older layer is partially visible among the recently exposed frescoes, proof that the church had already been embellished with pictures depicting the life of St. Margaret by 1350.