The high alpine meadows are where folks brought their herds to high pasture. There is no more peaceful, happy, bountiful sight and sound than big lazy happy cows strolling and muching their way through a high fresh green pasture, and the gentle clang of their bells.
In the old days, you could go up to the Malga where the cows were stationed during winter and buy a fresh whipped cream with fresh berryies. The cream was so fresh and pure that it actually had a nice fresh green grassy flavor. Man that is living.
When I see these guys still up high on the mountain it makes you feel even if only just for a moment that all is right with the world and that the earth is bountiful and gentle place!
Nearly Every Family in Carisolo had members who emigrated After the Second World War. Some of the most heated battles of the 1st and 2nd world war took place here and many families decided to emigrate. Many of them came to the United States though sizable numbers are in London, Canada, South American, Australia and everywhere else. "Quan'ca l'e' na in 'merica" (when he went to america) is the start of many stories. Because the were tenacious, hard working and disciplined, most of them prospered. Anyway, when you come to Carisolo don't be surprised to find more than few wizened hale old mountaineers playing cards and swearing in dialect, turn and say to you in perfect Londonese or Chicagoese..."where are you from." Consequently, Carisolo celebrate the 4th of July with a big party attended by hundreds of people.
Many people in this region do not consider themselves Italian exactly. They speak a dialect that is much more different from Italian, than for example, Spanish or Catalan is from standard Italian. Their culture, cuisine and traditions are about as different from Tuscany as Catalan is from Easter Island. Having developed their independant culture in the mountains somewhat cut off from cultural exhange, their identity is quite different. They wouldn't consider themselves Tyroleans or Germanic as some people in the Alto Adige would, but they probably wouldn't consider themselves very Italian. It's changing quite a lot now whith younger generations and especially as tourism and not timber and livestock become the main industries, but still sometimes people refer to anyone from anyplace south of Verona as 'talia'n. Meaning 'Italians'. It's might or might not be a disparaging remark, it just means not mountain folk. For example, someone from another mountain region might be called by their region, Piemontes' or Friulan' but everyone else is just Italian. Sometimes it's a little tiresome, as my mother from Sardinia discovered, but in general it's just part of the tough exterior that these people have developed. My family being a mix of Italian regions doesn't go in for this roots-identity nonsense too much, though we're very happy with where we come from.
I'm fascinated by dialects. In Carisolo, the dialect is an interesting Rhaeto-Romansch variant. It's extremely expressive and full of gusto even though it sounds pretty gruff. Usually you'll hear it spoken loudly, guttarally and with a loud voice generally reserved for calling out across mountain valleys. If you understand Italian perfectly, you still won't make heads or tails of this dialect. You'll notice a lot of German and French-like sounds even though they're not really related. For example...
English --Italian --Carisolo Dialect
piece --pezzo --tuchel'
The Trentino is famous for its Alpine culture, a big part of which consists of harmonic choral singing. It's common for get togethers to be consist of lots of eating, drinking and then singing. Barrel chested basses mix with sweet high strains in such great classics as Quel Mazzolin di Fiori or La Su Per La Montagna or La Montanara (a kind of anthem of the Alpine troops). Most of my family get togethers when I was growing up ended at a huge table that had just been cleared, glasses, coffee cups and lots of singing.
The Trentino is probably not like your image of what Italy is like. Here the scenery is exactly what you imagine Switzerland or Bavaria to look like. The people here are mountain folk. They are hardworking, stoic, rugged folks who are suspicious of outsiders and see most tourists who come through as soft, rich, and lazy. This is a land with hard winters, long uphill climbs and short seasons. To survive here the people became hardy and tough. To compensate, they are great joke tellers, with a bawdy rollicking sense of humour. They love a good drink of grappa, love to sing, and love to sit around a card table enjoying themselves with a well crafted sarcastic remark and hale gruffness. They're a little rough on the outside, but they have hearts of gold...sometimes.