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Culture 2000

European Union


The Project of the Ethnographic Path in the Vanoi Valley

The project of the Ethnographic Path originated in 1992 from an idea conceived by the Nature Park Paneveggio Pale di san Martino together with the Ethnographic Museum of the people of Trentino (Museo degli Usi e Costumi della Gente Trentina) having the goal to spread and to safeguard the historic- cultural heritage of the Vanoi Valley. The first stage of the project has been looking for financial support and start a long-detailed planning.

At the end of this planning it was clear that no other place than the territory of Caoria represented the best example of a "moving" landscape.

Slowly it was taking shape a complex and innovative project based on scientific interdisciplinarity and on the participation of the local people.

The Research

The research has started with the involvement of experts of several disciplines in order to compose a clear picture of the area where we would operate.

The Landscape

The goal of an analysis of the landscape should be to spot the different elements that make it up, their relationship and their order; the following step it is to interpret these elements considering the history and the culture of the community who has been living in this environment.

The analysis of the landscape has reconstructed the structure of the territory as we see it today, first with a look from the distance, then with smaller field analyses building a puzzle of closer looks.

The exploitation of the local resources and the settling necessities implied a continuous adaptation to the characteristics of a specific territory such as geology, climate, morphology, hyidrography and the deep transformation of the landscape triggered by human activities during the centuries.

The synthesis of these peculiarities has led to the spotting of five different landscape units:

  • the village of Caoria -la val- divided into two parts (outer and inner) and then in "colonei" small hamlets characterised by toponyms deriving from the main family names.
  • The meadows just above the village -i pradi - used for mowing and dotted with mountain huts (baite) cattlesheds and haylofts (tabiadi);
  • The wood, (el bosch) a very important source of raw materials and income;
  • The higher pastures (la montagna), for the grazing of the cattle during the summer;
  • The rocks,(i groti) far and inhospitable


The main goal in the first stage of research during the years 1995-96, was to find documents about the organisation of the territory and the exploitation of its resources from the second half of the XIX century to the present both with field researches and interviews to the local people.


The history of Caoria had, so far, never been object of careful studies. Some unexpected data have emerged such as the continuous presence, since the XIV century, of strong economic interest from the outside. We have got some important information (going back to the XVI century) on the origin and the development of the village.

Interventions and exhibitions

Most interventions are to be carried out on existing buildings. Only where they are not existing anymore there will be a reconstruction such as :

  • the reconstruction of a mountain hut for the lumberjacks
  • the reconstruction of two timber slides (one made of rock and the other one of timber)
  • the reconstruction of a charcoal pile and the charcoal burner hut with the description of this activity;
  • the reconstruction of some corrals (mandre) in the higher pastures;

As far as the exhibitions are concerned, one principle has been fixed: visitors had rather look at an object and interact with it than linger in front of captions. It is not a question of explaining but rather to learn to look together.

The exhibitions are:

  • two visitor centre (one in the village the other at the entrance of the Nature Park)
  • four information points (one in Caoria and three in the rural settlements)
  • the virtual reconstruction of a wooden dam (stua) for the timber-floating in Val Sorda
  • the reconstruction of an hydraulic sawmill in Pian de la Siega


design: Kai M. Wurm
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