Let us explore the history and tradition that unites the populations of our valleys.
The territory of Ladinia
Ladinia, a sweet sound that recalls distant times and ancient traditions in the Dolomites.
Ladinia is the territory surrounding the Sella Group, represented by the four Dolomite valleys: Badia (of which the Marebbe valley forms part), Gardena, Fassa and Livinallongo, together with the area to the east of Cortina d’Ampezzo, a territory located in north-eastern Italy, not far from the Austrian border, almost a universe in itself, which unites the Tyrolean German world with that of the Italian Trentino-Veneto, linked in time by historical, linguistic and cultural happenings. It is a territory united by a strong commonality and by its own language still spoken to this day – Ladin. Ladina even has its own flag, in use since 1920!
- There are common civic customs and rules handed down since the Middle Ages that characterise the structure of the communities, the management of the forests, meadows and pastures.
- The cuisine preserves and passes on typical recipes and dishes, such as Strudel, the “Puccia”, a special black rye bread that is paired with speck and cheese, the Fortaies/Smorn (also known as “strauben”), a typical pancake accompanied by blueberry jam.
- Craftsmanship, in particular consisting of the art of wood carving, being a consolidated tradition throughout the area.
- Each valley is distinguished by its own traditional garments and costumes that are worn for festivals and special occasions.
- Also similar is the architecture that distinguishes the typical barns.
- There are common choirs and songs in Ladin that enhance the bond amongst those in the community and fill guests with joy, such as the traditional Festival “Ćianta cun nos”, the protagonists of which are the children’s choirs of the Ladin valleys.
And of course, here we speak Ladin, the language of our heart.
Want to know more about our Ladin language? Click here.
An awareness that starts from afar
Contact between the four Dolomite valleys has lasted for a long time. Summer alpine pastures, markets, exchanges of products from the land, pilgrimages… there were many occasions that united the Ladin people.
The awareness of one’s own identity has been a slow process, also supported externally such as by travellers from other lands.
There are interesting documents from the end of the 18th century that attest to the “Ladin” pride, such as some ponderings penned between 1771 and 1781 by the doctor Rupert Dietrich that report considerations of daily life, such as “…difficulties for the population to understand the sermons both in Italian and those in German have emerged: in fact, Ladin is considered the mother tongue”. (source: extracts from “Storia del Ladini delle Dolomiti” by Werner Pescosta – Istitut Ladin Micura de Ru)
Travellers drawn to the Ladin culture
It was thanks to travellers, geologists, mountaineers and novelists that the awareness of the identity of the Ladinia territory was forged. During the 19th century, the Dolomite area attracted curious and eclectic people interested in the study of rocks, climbing and the unique features of the Alpine area. Geologists, ethnologists and mountaineers sojourned in the Alpine territories for long periods, during which they also observed the populations and the local customs and traditions.
Fu grazie a viaggiatori, geologi, alpinisti e romanzieri che si plasmò la consapevolezza dell’identità del territorio della Ladinia. Nel corso dell’800 l’area dolomitica attirò personaggi curiosi ed eclettici interessati allo studio delle rocce, delle arrampicate e delle peculiarità dell’area alpina. Geologi, etnologi, alpinisti, soggiornavano lunghi periodi nei territori alpini, durante i quali osservarono anche le popolazioni e gli usi e costumi locali.
The scholars writing and raising awareness of the discoveries regarding the Dolomite area did not fail to share the anecdotes and stories of the inhabitants and their traditions, along with the common customs in the area. They wrote about the ethnic, linguistic and cultural characteristics of the Ladin people, thus laying the foundations for what was later defined as a common identity.
This interest of the scholars thus contributed to accelerating the awareness of the Ladin folk also at a local level. It was only towards the end of the 19th century that a common sense of ethnic and linguistic belonging spread amongst the Ladin locals.
Today, the acquired cultural foundations, the development of the economy and tourism along with the flourishing of cultural associations and institutions contribute to preserving and protecting the Ladin identity and traditions.
The merit of a holiday in Ladinia
Food, music, language, traditions, flavours and the enchanted beauty of the Dolomites. A holiday in Val Badia and in the other valleys of the Ladin world has a unique and unforgettable charm. It is said that those who stay in our valleys, surrounded by the majesty of the Dolomites, return enriched in spirit and soul, thanks to the culture and traditions of our land. Of this, we are sure!
A consolidated identity of which we are deeply proud.