Trentino: besides its wellness and outdoor aspects we talked about in the article dedicated to Vitanova, it is rich in tradition, history and its cuisine is among the tastiest of Italy.
What most struck us during our visit in Fassa Valley is the strong Ladin tradition which does not go out of fashion here and rather, it appears to have increased with the passing of time.
Having a chat with the locals is surely the best way to learn more about this culture, including the Ladin language. We got to know the family that manages the Active Olympic Hotel in Vigo di Fassa and we hosted at the family’s baita, at 2300 meters above sea level, in the locality named Regola (in the area of San Pellegrino pass).
A rich and local lunch be kept waiting for us: chopping board of cold cuts, cheese, homemade bread (fennel taste), potatoes, vegetables and some good red wine, of course. Between a mountain song and another, we spent some time with the family, laughing and joking as acquaintances of long standing. It is in these hours passed with this company that we discover the strengths of the Ladin culture: the hospitality and kindness of its people.
The following evening, after a dinner of yak meat, we are pleased to be guests at the Tramont hut (near Pozza di Fassa) by the same family that owns Hotel Ladinia. With a torchlight we reached up the hut where we found Martina (head of Educational Services of the Ladin Museum) who, from a balcony, began to tell tales and stories of the past, in a language unknown to us, the Ladino (all the stories will then be translated into Italian for obvious reasons) and accompanied by the background music of the accordion.
Before the coming of the Internet and the television, the inhabitants of Fassa Valley used to spend evenings in this way, with the whole family gathered around the fireplace, telling stories and legends of the valley.
In VitaNova hotels , that we visited during our trip in Trentino, Ladin culture is very strong, as well as its language: it often happens to witness conversations in Ladin between employees of the hotel where you’re staying. It is nice to spend a few days in family-run structures with traditions that are handed down from generation to generation instead of big chains hotels: it is only in hotels managed by the same family for decades that you can feel at home, surrounded by friendly environment and atmosphere.
In these parts, the handmade wood carving has a strong tradition: in Tesero we met Giuseppe Mich, also called “Bepo”, a well known and appreciated sculptor of Fiemme Valley, who explains us how he manages to create his works of art, both sacred and profane, from raw wood of linden tree. It seems impossible that a piece of wood can be transformed in such as detailed and perfect sculptures. It is an art that is improved and perfected through years of practice and dedication.
A visit to Trentino would not be complete if you do not taste a local grappa. There are of all kinds: mountain pine, nettle, gentian, juniper, and many more, as Massimo Donei, artisan of grappa, explains us. In his laboratory in Panchià, Massimo produces a high quality grappa where every single ingredient is carefully selected according to the seasonality and respecting nature.
Enjoy a traditional grappa while listening to the Coro di Genzianella di Tesero is a privilege: beautiful folk and mountain songs appreciated even by those who do not know the genre. It is worth visiting the webpage of the Coro for dates and information about upcoming concerts and exhibitions.
Among the dishes tried during the days spent in Fassa and Fiemme Valleys we suggest you the traditional knödel, famous dumplings prepared with different ingredients such as bacon, Puzzone di Moena cheese, spinach and, for the sweet version, ricotta, apricots or strawberries.
Among the main courses, tagliolini with porcini mushrooms, pappardelle with game ragout or ravioli stuffed with potatoes and dried figs. Among the second courses, polenta is always present: it can be served with melted cheese, sausages with sauerkraut, pig’s knuckle or roe deer stew. For dessert, apple strudel with vanilla sauce is a must.
Wellness trekking, spa, outdoor activities, culture, traditions and great food: there are no more excuses not to visit Trentino!