Val Gardena in South Tyrol

Wednesday, 4 November 2020 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Sport

Santa Cristina © creator-bz

Santa Cristina © creator-bz

Val Gardena (German: Gröden) is a valley in Northern Italy, in the Dolomites of South Tyrol. It is best known as a touristic skiing, rock climbing, and woodcarving area. The valley’s main river is the Rio Gardena, a tributary of Eisack river. The mountains that surround the valley are formed by dolomite rocks, which confer them a characteristic appearance. Most of the steep slopes are covered by pine woods. The favoured cultivations are barley, rye, potatoes, flax, buckwheat. The three municipalities in Val Gardena are Ortisei, Selva, and Santa Cristina; they were served by the Ferrovia della Val Gardena from 1916 until 1960.

Val Gardena is one of five valleys with a majority of Ladin speakers (two of these valleys are in South Tyrol). The form of the Ladin language spoken in this valley is called Gardenese in Italian, Grödnerisch in German and Gherdëina in Ladin.

Dolomiti Alpe Siusi © panoramio.com - Cristian Lorini/cc-by-sa-3.0 Santa Cristina © creator-bz Santa Cristina © Creator-bz/cc-by-sa-3.0 Sëlva and Wolkenstein © Wolfgang Moroder/cc-by-sa-3.0 Urtijëi © Wolfgang Moroder/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Zoran Kurelić Rabko/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Dolomiti Alpe Siusi © panoramio.com - Cristian Lorini/cc-by-sa-3.0
The woodcarving industry has flourished in Val Gardena since the 17th century. Since the 19th century, statues and altars carved in the area have been shipped to Catholic Churches throughout the world. In the 18th century, besides religious statuettes, the production of woodcarved figurines of genre art was widespread in the valley. Among them statuettes of beggars generally in pairs (female and male), four seasons, watchstands were very popular. In the 19th and 20th century, carving of wooden toys was such a widespread occupation in all Gardenese families that Amelia Edwards called Ortisei the “capital of Toyland”. One of the valley’s best-known products is the peg wooden doll which was popular all over Europe and America in the 19th century. In one of her many trips Margaret Warner Morley went to Europe to Val Gardena where she was inspired to write the novel Donkey John of the toy valley. The Parish Church of Ortisei displays a rich collection of statues carved by local artists in the last two centuries. The Museo della Val Gardena in Ortisei owns a rich collection of historical wooden toys, and woodcarved statues and figurines.

The valley hosted the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in 1970. Val Gardena is home to the Saslong Classic, a men’s World Cup downhill race that has been held almost every year since 1969. Since 2002 (and in 1983), the downhill has been paired with a Super-G race, and from 1979 to 1982 a combined event was held. The Saslong course is considered one of the five “classic” men’s downhill races, along with Garmisch-Partenkirchen‘s Kandahar (GER), Kitzbühel‘s Hahnenkamm (AUT), Wengen‘s Lauberhorn (SUI), and Val-d’Isère‘s Criterium (FRA). It is well known for the “Camel Humps” (or “Bumps”), a series of three small jumps which racers must negotiate in quick succession. Two men have won the Saslong title four times in a career: Austrian Franz Klammer (1975, two races in 1976, and 1982) and Italy’s Kristian Ghedina (1996, 1998, 1999, and 2001). If Super-G wins are also included, two other men have matched that feat: Peter Müller of Switzerland and Austrian Michael Walchhofer. A women’s slalom and parallel slalom were also held in 1975. Val Gardena is part of the Sella Ronda alpine ski touring circuit. The Gardena Spring Trophy is an annual international figure skating competition held every spring in the Valley. Val Gardena has a Serie A ice hockey team, the Hockey Club Gardena.

Read more on ValGardena.it, Val-Gardena.com and Wikipedia Val Gardena (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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