Tradition & History

fotoVal Gardena lies in the heart of the Dolomites and has become world-famous for its century-long wood sculpting tradition.

In this little South Tyrolean valley, which is surrounded by mountains, dense woods and wide mountain pastures, lives a small language minority, the Ladins.

fotoUp to 150 years ago Gardena had been an isolated high valley which was difficult to reach. The poor and harsh climate forced its inhabitants to a sideline to escape the poverty in which they lived.

Thus the tradition of the woodcarving art was born at the beginning of the 17th century. In the long winter evenings the farmers first started to carve toys and later also artistic works in their stuben (wood-panelled living rooms) to sell at the spring markets.

fotoOut of sheer necessity, a line of business came into being, which is still now of utmost importance to the valley. The craft has been handed down from generation to generation and has developed and been refined ever since. Further, two carving schools and art schools have been established to teach and train young people.

Nowadays it can be truly claimed that Val Garden is the centre of the woodcarving art worldwide.