Color, vegetation, form and majestic scenery. A valley blessed with natural beauty, surrounded by the best known mountains, such as the Sassolungo, the Five Fingers, the Dantersass, il Dente or the Tooth, the Sassopiatto, Alpe di Siusi and the Sella.
Val Gardena enjoys an enchanted position surrounded by breathtakingly beautiful mountains such as the Sassolungo, the Five Fingers, the Tooth, the Danterass, the Sassopiatto, Alpe di Siusi and the Sella. Selva is situated at an altitude of 1563 meters and is known to be a very fine ski resort. The center of the village is at the bottom of the valley as are the more recent houses and shops while the older buildings face the sun and climb up the slopes of the Daunei, on one side the Puez and the Odle and on the other side the Sella and the Sassolungo. Santa Cristina is between Ortisei and Selva and at an altitude of 1428 meters and is the smallest village in Val Gardena and much loved by all who are truly passionate about mountains.
We are in Val Gardena where the peaks are unchallenged kings. The 25 kilometers of this gorgeous valleyis everything the Dolomites are famous for. Color, vegetation, form and majestic scenery. A valley blessed with natural beauty, surrounded by the best known mountains, such as the Sassolungo, the Five Fingers, the Dantersass, il Dente or the Tooth, the Sassopiatto, Alpe di Siusi and the Sella. Preservation of these natural beauties is a priority and they are wonderful examples of clever use of their attraction to keep them in the finest state possible
For anyone choosing a regenerating vacation in the mountains, the Val Gardena in both summer and winter offers massive opportunities for a truly varied and creative time. In the summer there are wonderful excursions and walks to be had as well as amazing climbing and mountain-bike experiences. During the winter, perfectly groomed ski slopes await skiers of all levels of expertise and there are also designated areas for cross country skiing and paths for pleasant winter walks or outings on snow-shoes.
We are in the heart of Ladinia where typically Gardena pride and individual identity stand out. And it is not just the well known villages of Selva, Santa Cristina and Ortisei that are worth the visit, so the charming San Giacomo, Bulla, Pontives and Ponte Gardena are not to be missed.
"Bën unì" = "Welcome": here the spoken language is "Ladino", a language that has its origins in the mix of the ancient languages of Celtic and Latin.
Val Gardena is lso a point of reference for music lovers as it enjoys an international reputation thanks to the Valgardena MUSIKA Festival, a series of concerts of classical music which takes place throughout July and August and which attracts the most prestigious orchestras in the world.
The traditional costume which in the ladino language is called "I guant da zacàn" is very rich with colours, embroidery and ornaments of all kinds. What is so particular about this costume is that each social condition had its own costume which was different for adults and children and also differed according to civil status. On the most important feast days, however, everyone wore the black hat with a tassle called a “Cneidl”, and a black cloak, the so called “Bagana”.
Women’s hair styles revealed whether they were married or not. Married women wore their hair tied in a chignon, while unmarried women wore a long plait. Another difference was the lace cloth, which is worn over the shoulders: married women wore a yellow one, while unmarried women a red one.
There were also differences between men's costumes.. Green cloth braces were worn by children over a red waistcoat, young boys wore a red waistcoat with a short jacket over it while married men wore a decorated silk waistcoat and a cloak. Now, as indeed in olden times, the most precious part of the costume is the leather belt with richly embroidered motifs made from the feathers of a peacock's tail.
in German Fischburg (or Fish Castle) earned its name because the Baron Engelhardt Dietricht von Wolkestein bred excellent trout in the ponds around the castle. This beautiful fortified family home is at Ciampinoi and dates back to 1622.
Not far from Selva are the ruins of Castel Wolkestein the origins of which go back to 1200. The largest Nativity scene in the world is to be found at Santa Cristina and is well over two meters tall.
San Giacomo's church with its octagonal pointed bell tower, the beautiful 15th century Gothic frescoes and an extremely rich alter with statues by the famous family of sculptors, Vinazer.
The Gothic chruch of Bulla has remained exactly as it always has been over the course of the centuries and is worth a visit, as is the legendary House of Salvan at Pontives.
Ortisei in local Ladino language is called St. Ulrich and is situated at an altitude of 1236 meters in the breathtakingly beautiful valley which opens up between Alpe di Siusi, Mount Saceda and the woods of Rasciesa. The Sassolungo is the perfect background for this picture postcard mountain scenery.
Ortisei is a perfect reflection of Val Gardena style. Extremely well-looked after and incredibly pretty it is a perfect balance between the traditional and the modern, jealously guarding its characteristic style and architecture. Despite the obvious development of tourism over the last fifty years it has managed to preserve a natural feeling of cosiness and intimacy.
In the center of Ortisei the Mar Dolomit pool is place for great fun and relaxation for the whole family. Indoor and outdoor pools, sauna, steam baths, vitarium wellness and relaxation areas mean something for every member of the family.
In all the villages of the Val Gardena (Ortisei, S. Cristina and Selva) there are several free wifi hotspots.
The art of wood carving boasts four centuries of tradition and Val Gardena is the home to the finest of artisans and artists and their work.
Furniture, nativity statuettes, toys, panelling and decoration for the "stuben" are greatly sought after and sold all over the world.
This art has a name and a face, Adolf Vallazza, one of the top international artists in the wood carving world. His unique pieces are the fruit of his search for ancient wood, in the abandoned "malghe" or farms: chairs, totems, and stylized thrones have made him well known all over Europe. His studio in Ortisei can be visited on appointment, www.adolfvallazza.com
Did you know that the author of the Flashdance soundtrack is from Ortisei? Giorgio Moroder was born in this little town in Alto Adige on 26th April 1940. He is a successful songwriter who in 1978 won the Oscar for Best Song with Last Dance and also wrote the soundtrack to Alan Parker's Midnight Express and Tony Scott's Top Gun.
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