The Farms of Trentino: Jewels of Art and Food
Those wonderful houses with sloping roofs and wooden windows, which emerge from the snow or the dazzling green of the meadows, those gems of buildings that make Trentino-Alto Adige so characteristic, are the farms. These are traditionally properties that include the farm, the farmhouse, the barn and farming machinery. These buildings can be below the dwelling of the farmers, or separate. The farm buildings, depending on the areas where they are located, can be entirely made of wood, or stone and brick. The farm, then is surrounded by meadows to be mowed or grazed on. Usually goats, cows and chickens would be reared there.
These days these farms are not so much used for agriculture and livestock but have been turned into hotels, restaurants, bars and other places for tourists. In Val Gardena there are some very ancient ones, dating back to the twelfth or thirteenth century, which offer a glimpse of what life was like in the past to those eager to discover a true sense of life in the mountains.
The farms are also renowned for their cuisine and the many food and wine related activities they offer. Inside you can sample the best of local cuisine, genuine and refined dishes, particularly in a special part of the alpine house known as the “stube” (pronounced stoo-bay).
The “stube” or “stua” is the typical living room of certain Alpine areas, including Val Gardena. Its name comes from a word for “stove”, because in ancient times it was the only heated room in the house. To deal with the cold, the life of the entire family outside of working in the fields and in the barn, took place almost solely in the stube: meals, conversations, games, embroidery and weaving, wood carving, practically every activity was held inside this room centred around the stove.
Very often the walls of the stube, made completely of wood, were decorated with artistic details and ornaments, which make for some very picturesque ones that are now protected by the Fine Arts.
A typical part of the stube is the Eckbank, a wooden bench that runs along two walls of the stube, placed at an angle around the stove. At this table the family would eat together.
The “stube” has remained the symbol of renowned Trentino hospitality, in fact it is in this place that travellers, after a day of skiing and fun, can enjoy the pleasure of good food and conversation, perhaps listening to the stories of their hosts or learning ancient traditional recipes, thanks to the many events organised in Val Gardena.