This 30 km long valley, called “Ghërdeina” in Ladin language, is a tributary valley of the Val Pusteria.
The Val Gardena begins in the south of Chiusa, at Ponte Gardena, and extends to the Sella and Gardena mountain passes. The main villages in the valley are Ortisei, Santa Cristina and Selva di Val Gardena. The river that runs through the valley is the rio Gardena. Also in this valley the Ladin language, called “Ghërdeina”, is still spoken.
However, this valley is particularly renowned for its wood carvings, an art that originated in the 17th century in order to bridge the long winter period. As this valley, since about one hundred years ago, has largely been isolated, the inhabitants were kind of forced to excert a productive activity. That is also why they began to make wood carvings, which they sold in summer.
If you would like to get an insight into the art of wood carving, you can visit the “Museum de Gherdëina” in Selva, where you can admire precious pieces of art of the first wood carvers, archaeological findings which illustrate the history of the valley, as well as a herbarium.