Last-minute winter holidays to Alta Badia – a ski resort in the Dolomite mountains of northern Italy – can mean more than winter sports, apres-ski and fresh powder (although there’s plenty of that, with an epic snowfall of nine metres last winter).
Until you travel to this craggy, snow-capped region, you probably won’t know that its culture crosses over with that of Austria and Germany. There are Germanic inflections in the architecture, food (loosen your belt in preparation for dumplings, meat and barley stews, venison and strudel) and sauna culture – Italians like to bask in their swimsuits, while Germans and Austrians bare all. It’s a constant source of conflict in the region’s hotel spas.
Look closer and you’ll see that there’s an extra language on the restaurant menus, most likely alongside English, German and Italian. People born in this part of Italy’s South Tyrol region are natural linguists, as the ethnic Ladin group lives here – a community of 30,000 people – with their own language that’s similar to other Romance languages in Europe.
Ladin traditions go back thousands of years, and local tourism agency Alta Badia Brand recently launched Nos Ladins to introduce them to tourists. Calling upon a group of six, specially selected Ladin ambassadors, the project allows visitors to experience the Alta Badia region like a true local – whether that’s ski mountaineering or tasting South Tyrolean wines…
To read the full feature, visit the ABTA Magazine website.