Longiarù designated as Mountaineering Village

The 5 August will see a huge celebration in Longiarù, the little town in the Ladin municipality of San Martino in Badia (Alto Adige/Südtirol), marking signing of the agreement between the local authority and the Alpenverein granting Longiarù the status of a Mountaineering Village.

This status has already been earned in Italy by Mazia (a district of Malles, in Val Venosta) and more recently by Val di Zoldo, Cibiana and Zoppè di Cadore in the Province of Belluno. Recognition follows a long process in which some extremely precise criteria are assessed. These include the area in question being located in an unspoilt natural landscape, without any high-impact buildings, and in which traditions are kept alive and visitors are encouraged to adopt a respectful approach to the environment.

In our interview, the Mayor of San Martino in Badia, Giorgio Costabiei, tells us all about it.

“Longiarù has managed to stay intact: no cars are able to drive through it as the road ends in the residential area, there are no ski lifts and while other parts of the valley attract mass tourism, this place is a haven of peace and tranquillity. Not only the environment is being conserved, the Ladin Culture, handed down from generation to generation, is also preserved as a distinctive feature of the entire municipality of San Martino, which is also home to the Ciastel de Tor Ladin Museum and the Ladin Institute, two entities that make San Martino the cultural hub of the whole valley.

“We have preserved our historic buildings over time. Thirty water mills survive, part of them still in use (editor’s note: they can be visited on the 5 August during the celebration of the status awarded to the village). These mills bear living witness to an ancient culture and an era in which the local inhabitants lived solely on their farming income. The hamlets of Les Viles are also prime examples of this culture and on 5 August they will be staging guided walks and offering local gourmet treats”.

Is this status also of use for marking Longiarù out from other holiday attractions?

“Definitely, some members of the working group that assessed our application were astonished to find a place like Longiarù in an area that attracts an altogether different type of tourism”.

This might also be a commitment for the future, and no small one….

“Quite true, this is a serious commitment in that this status imposes very precise rules to which the local authority must pay great attention, for instance when granting building permissions. But so many visitors to our village are only looking for rest and the chance to reflect on and delight in natural beauty”.

Longiarù has about 600 inhabitants, a third of the entire municipality. How have they taken it? Do they support the initiative?

“We have organised two meetings with the local community and I’m pleased to say they believe in it and give it their full support”.

In short, it is a community all pulling together in support of a project combining the values of the past with a long-sighted vision.