The history of Val Badia

From a rather isolated valley to one of the most popular holiday destination of the area

The four valleys which surround the Sella alpenstock are inhabited by people speaking the Ladin language. One of these for valleys is called Val Badia.

Archeological findings at “Sotciastèl” in Pedraces confirm that Val Badia has already been inhabited in Bronze Age between the 16th and 13th century b.c. These inhabitants were considered to be Proto-Indo-European tribes or Celts. Further in time Romans used the collective term “Rhaetians” to describe these people.

Under Roman rule the area surrounding the Gruppo Sella was reorganised in political and administrative terms. This is also when Ladin developed out of the Latin and Rhaetian language.

The year 1027, however, was very important for the valley, which still was quite isolated. When the princedom of Bressanone was founded, the area on the left riverbank was awarded to the bishop. Moreover in this time also the Italian name “Badia”” developed, which derives from Castelbadia in San Lorenzo.

Between 1803 and the beginning of WWI the valley first was transferred to Austria and further on to Bavaria. The war had devastating consequences on the valley and its inhabitants, as many bloody battles took place in the Dolomites. In the end, in 1919 Val Badia was annexed to the Trentino, Italy.

Franz Kostner, a famous alpine guide of Val Badia reckoned that this area could be a great place for skiing and supported transport development in the valley, as so far it could only be reached on foot or carriage. In 1930 Kostner established a kind of “sleigh lift” and several years after he founded the first ski school.

Today Alta Badia is one of the most popular skiing areas in South Tyrol.

By the way: due to high mountain ranges, this area has been isolated for a long time. This is why the Ladin language is still extant. Despite of the developments in tourism sector, Ladin population has always kept striving for the preservation of language, customs and traditions.

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