The 30 km long Val Gardena, called Ghërdeina in Ladin language, is a tributary valley of the Valle Isarco valley.
The Val Gardena valley, or Gardena, stretches on a length of 30 km between the village of Ponte Gardena south of Chiusa and the Passo Sella and Passo Gardena mountain passes. The Rio Gardena brook (Derjon, in Ladin) runs through the valley with its three municipalities - Ortisei, Santa Cristina and Selva Gardena - and the related hamlets. It is - such as the Val Badia valley - one of the Dolomite valleys, where the Ladin language has been preserved and is still spoken.
Gherdëina, how the Val Gardena is called in Ladin language, is particularly renowned for its wood carvings, above all Christian figures and nativity scenes. This art and handicraft originated in the 17th century in order to bridge the long and hard winter period. The wood carvings produced in the largely isolated valley by farmers, were sold back then in summer as supplementary income.
If you would like to get an insight into the historical art work, you can visit the Museum Gherdëina - Val Gardena Museum in the "Cesa di Ladins", the Centre of Ladin language and culture in Ortisei. It provides a good overview of the history of the valley, with exhibits ranging from archaeological findings to a collection of old wooden toys. The Val Gardena valley, surrounded by Dolomite peaks such as Mt. Stevia (2,555 m a.s.l.), the Cir Group (2,592 m a.s.l.) and Mt. Seceda (2,519 m a.s.l.), is a popular holiday resort in every season of the year.