Culture, History and Traditions

Along the Dolomiti di Brenta Bike route, either country (along cycle paths at the valley floor) or expert (single tracks and forest roads) you will encounter traditional architectural, historic and cultural elements. Even the fastest biker will not miss them!


Val di Sole boasts several millennia of history and a considerable wealth of rustic buildings, forts, castles, palaces and churches where "hidden tresures" are conserved. Recommended is a visit to Male, the main town of the valley, with its striking roman-gothic style church façade, and of course the Museum of Solandra Civilization (tel. 0463 901272), where a permanent exhibition of traditional culture and working methods of the people of Val di Sole are set up. Creations of the carpenter, the blacksmith, the farmer, the herdsmen, the weaver and the coppersmith are on display alongside a recreation of the living environment of the ancient Solandri, portraying accuratly the original equipment used and the craftspersons workshop. At the heart of the museum the "Stua" is located, the best room of the Solandra's house. A visit to the museum will give you a chance to encounter, without nostalgia or mumbo jumbo, the great and tangible culture of the local peoples.


The valley was first inhabited by the Celts a few thousand years BC, followed by the Raeti and then the Romans. There was then a transitional period with the Franks, the Bishops of Trento and then the Austrohungarians ruling. In the 1800s the practice of irredentristy was born. During the first world war Val di Sole was at the frontier, and this lead to a period of phenomenal emigration. The village of Caldes, with its main street ("the road of the knights") featuring some old buildings, was once inhabited by local noble families. Coats of arms and stone doorways are testimony to the feudal times, most certainly this is evident in the castle on the outskirts of Caldes (tel. 0463 901334). This is owned by the Autonomous Privince of Trento and open during the summer season. It was build in successive periods, between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries and has many a legend of unhappy love. Inside it has grand halls and a staircase of stone and the chapels frescoes are of great artistic value.


In the lower part of Val di Sole, like in nearby Valle di Non, apples are cultivated. Indeed, to be more exact the "Melinda" are grown, by now a brand well known in the national and international market.
One cannot forget, however, the dairy products, all derived from the milking cows out to pasture. From the best butter to ricotta, as well as cheese: "Nostrano" local mature cheese, Trentino grana hard cheese and the particular and traditional "casolet della Val di Sole", a typical mountain cheese from a tender paste of raw full fat milk. At one time it was only made in autumn, when the herds had come down from the pastures and daily milkings were scarce. It was therefore the most excellent cheese, and was eaten most commonly at home during the long winter months. The name has a Latin origin, derived from "caseolus" meaning small cheese and as in fact the most traditional forms of the cheese have a heel of around 7 to 12cm for 10 to 22cm diameter forms. The sausages, small fruit and honey must be also tried. There are many marketss where the products can be bought directly from the producers themselves: craftsmen, herdsmen and farmers.

/ Val di Sole

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