I live in the suburbs of a large city where the pace of life is always fast. Coming to Castelrotto was a lovely experience for me. Part of it was the typical small town thing- the pace of life is much slower, there is no hurry at all.
One of the things we have in the city is a large degree of anonymity. Here everyone will notice you. The large majority of visitors that come here are Germans and Austrians. The townspeople I talked to seemed genuinely surprised to meet an American. I apologized for the quality of my german, which hadn't been used in years, but was still good enough to communicate with. I was a bit surprised when i was hiking back from the village of St Valentin, this lady told me she had seen me the previous day and inquired if I was enjoying my stay etc. We just walked and she was telling me about what life was like out here, how hard the winters were, the challenge of maintaining traditions in a very changing world. She told me that she had heard that i had helped one of the farmers with a home on the trail. (He was trying to lift a basket of apples and it looked too heavy, so i rushed to help him.) News travels fast, eh!
Everyone was super polite to start, but the warmth came quickly with the people I met here.
The main occupation in Kastelruth/Castelrotto has been agriculture and small farming. Here you will not see stoplights or traffic jams. It is quiet and pastoral. None of the farms are very large, there are just small operations. But don't think that people don't take it seriously. Walk close to some cattle and you will find a little fence, it doesn't usually look like much, but it will give you a little jolt when you touch it.
this is an expression that you will hear when you are passing someone on the hiking trail. Though it literally means "god greet you" it can also mean "God bless you". Generally it is a proper greeting, mainly used by Bavarians and Austrians. Where a northern German would say Guten Tag, a Bavarian would more likely say Grüß Gott.
Just respond and smile when you hear this on the hiking trail or in town. It would be bad manners to ignore this greeting
You will see these little road side shrines throughout the Dolomites. The people here are deeply religious, overwhelmingly Catholic.