The tradition of woodcarving in the Val Gardena valley, practised above all during the winter months, is many centuries old.
Image gallery: Woodcarving
South Tyrolean woodcarving is a traditional art and centuries old handicraft, which has been kept alive in several valleys. The Val Gardena valley is known for its wooden sculptures and artworks - mainly Christian figures and nativity scenes - which traditionally were carved by farmers as a supplementary income during the cold winter months. Nowadays, the registered trademark of the Bolzano Chamber of Commerce protects the unique wooden artworks of the Val Gardena valley. In the village of Santa Cristina you can visit one of the largest cribs and at the same time the world’s largest hand-carved nativity scene, created by local sculptors.
Also other valleys in South Tyrol have an important woodcarving tradition. In the Tures and Aurina valleys, for instance, beautiful masks and artworks from roots are carved. Also the Krampus masks for the traditional Krampus Runs around St. Nicholas Day are still handmade and represent real masterpieces of this handicraft. The laboratories or small shops are worth a visit and give you the opportunity to have a closer look at this traditional handicraft!
Interested in museums? The Museum Gherdëina - Val Gardena Museum in Ortisei exhibits a comprehensive collection of woodcarvings from the 17th to the 20th century as well as old wooden toys of the valley, dating back to the 19th and 20th century. Furthermore you can admire wooden crib figures in the three nativity scene collections of the region: in Bolzano, in Lutago in the Valle Aurina valley and in Sesto in the upper Val Pusteria valley.