The Alto Adige is known for being a region rich in skilled wood carvers.
It could hardly be otherwise in an area so rich in woodland.
Wood carving is a tradition that goes way back and the craftsmen know how to make really beautiful carvings.
The Christmas period, that everyone looks forward to so much, is one is one of the best for getting to appreciate the mastery of the local craftsmen, thanks to the extraordinary carved wooden cribs they make.
The carving skills present in the Alto Adige and the beauty of the craftsmanship are so well-known that it is precisely in this region that some of the carved fir figures were made that featured in the Vatican’s crib erected in St Peter’s Square in Rome.
Lots of places throughout the Alto Adige are very fond of the crib tradition, but those most fond are Val Gardena and Tesero in Val di Fiemme, where mainly Swiss pine wood is used for the carved figures.
The word ‘crib’ or ‘presepe’ in Italian means ‘manger’ and it was chosen exactly because in making it it represents the setting and the place in which the baby Jesus was born. They say that it was Saint Francis, in 1223 to build the first such nativity scene. It appears that he got the idea having spent Christmas in Bethlehem, an experience that moved him deeply and meant a great deal to him. But, the first crib with all its various characters, was built in 1283 and has been conserved in the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica in Rome.
But let’s return to our Val Gardena and the skilled hands of our local woodcarvers.
Right around Christmas time, from 2 December through to 8 January, there will be an exhibition of traditional wooden cribs in Chiesa di Selva Gardena Square.
Guests at our hotel will be treated to an experience unique throughout the splendid Dolomites, breathing in the magic Christmas atmosphere.
Don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to spend your Christmas holiday in Val Gardena!