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Published: June 20th 2018
From Verona we drove to Trento, or Trent to English speakers. This is where the Council of Trent met in the 16th century to form an agreement between the Catholic pope in the south and the Holy Roman Empire of Germany in the north.
This area of Trentino and South Tyrol has changed hands so many times. 2000 years ago the Romans were here and established posts to control trade routes to the north. Then in Medieval times more Germans/Austrians moved in, and that is the predominant language here. In the 19th century, Italy finally united as a nation, but this Tyrollean area was not a part of it. In WW1, Italy at first stayed neutral but then entered on the side of France and England when promised that they could annex this region.
Once it was part of Italy, the Fascists in the 1920s outlawed anything German, including the speaking of the language. Kids were taught Fascist songs and propaganda in schools, so many of their parents took them out of school, so they weren't qualified for jobs when they grew up, and finally this led to revolution in 1961. The UN stopped in and encouraged a peaceful
settlement which is unique in Italy and in the world. Each person living in the provinces of Trentino and South Tyrol declares his preferred language, and then the local government must provide public services and hire public workers in proportion to the populations. They also need to have balance in cultural offerings, housing, sports teams, schools, roads, and infrastructure. Somehow it all works.
Anyway, in Trent the best attraction was the castle which contained frescoes from the 14th century, one for each month, showing different farming activities and celebrations that typically took place during that month, like photos of Medieval life!
We continued our ride up to Brixen (Italian: Bressano), now getting into a mountainous area with steep cliffs on either side of us. We had our first views of the jagged peaks of the Dolomites, and the next morning we rode up to the Sella Pass for some hiking in beautiful country. The windflowers were just out, and it was a gorgeous morning up there. We had lunch with one of only about 35,000 people who speak a language called Ladin, derived from Latin. He told us how they are trying to preserve their language with their
own schools and literature, but it may be a losing battle.
That afternoon during our free time, Wayne and I went to a local pool that turned out to be more like a water park. Called Aquarena, it had huge outdoor and indoor pools and water slides, and crazy whirlpools with current that could sweep you around a loop and were hard to get out of. We were the oldest by about forty years but didn't let that stop us!
June 19 was the best yet. In the morning we visited the Schneeberg silver mine, dating from the 1200s. The life of a modern miner is hard enough, but imagine working underground with only smoky oil lamps for light, lying on your stomach in a (wet) tunnel barely three feet in diameter, chipping away at the rock with a hammer and chisel. What a contrast to go from that to our afternoon activity, riding the ex Trametsch tram up to about 7200 ft to hike the Woody Trail with 365 degree views of the Dolomites. Best scenery yet. Our group didn't get started until 4 pm, and Paulo had never done this loop before, so we ended up
practically jogging the last mile to get back to the last tram at 6! But it was worth it.
Tot: 0.067s; Tpl: 0.019s; cc: 12; qc: 52; dbt: 0.0131s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb