Discovering the Ciastel de Tor Ladin Museum

The third stop on our voyage of discovery exploring the immense treasure trove of museums in the UNESCO Dolomites. After the Cazzetta museum in Selva di Cadore (Belluno) and the museums in Friuli, we have now moved on to the Province of Bolzano to talk about one of the very special features of the Dolomite territory, that being the presence of the Ladin minority community and its history, its culture and above all a language that has managed to survive for centuries. A heritage within a heritage therefore, which is amply and accurately on show in the Ćiastel De Tor Ladin Museum.


We are in San Martino in Badia, within sight of the characteristic tower that, in the 13th Century, was the seat of justice, in other words the Ladin governing entity, “Thurn an der Gader”. An ancient history and guardian of a precious treasure: since 2001, the Ćiastel has been home to the Provincial Ladin Museum, an important point of reference for the members of this minority and for everyone wishing to gain a deep understanding of the history, linguistic features and economy as well as the geology and archaeology of the valleys in which the Ladin culture has miraculously survived.


If it is true that the Dolomites are an example of natural heritage, it is equally true that one of main features that led to UNESCO listing is the wide range of languages and cultures in an area of 142,000 hectares, made up of five provinces and in which four different languages are spoken and officially recognised: Italian, German, Friulian and, of course Ladin.

The displays in the Ladin Museum make it possible to get to know, not only the history but also the current identity of the Dolomite Ladin communities. This identity has been moulded by the sense of belonging to an environment whose features have undoubtedly also contributed to its preservation and, over the centuries, the preservation of the Ladin language. The landscape and culture, the history and linguistic identity are all there in a building that is not a mere place of conservation but also an instrument for promoting the Ladin culture and that of the Dolomites in general, thanks to the various events it organises, in particular during the summer season.


The Ćiastel de Tor Museum is also linked with the Ladin Ursus ladinicus Museum located in San Cassiano in Val Badia and, as the name tells us, it is entirely dedicated to the prehistoric Dolomite bear and the environment in which 40,000 years ago these animals lived among its rocks, woodlands and caves. As well as original bones, reproductions and multimedia solutions, visitors can get up close to this plantigrade animal and also explore the various stages in the geological formation of the Dolomites.

Ph. Museo di Ćiastel de Tor