We The Italians | Italian handcrafts: The woodwork of Trentino

Italian handcrafts: The woodwork of Trentino

Italian handcrafts: The woodwork of Trentino

  • WTI Magazine #152 Jun 25, 2022
  • 200

For centuries, wood was the raw material that every mountain community relied on to meet the needs of everyday life. In its most traditional forms, woodworking is the most direct response that people were able to find for their everyday needs.

Over time, this immediacy has given way to a tradition, which in the province of Trento has combined functional needs and aesthetic taste to develop formal features that reflect a cultural identity deeply rooted in these valleys. Today, there are almost a thousand companies working in wood.

In 2008, the Trento Chamber of Commerce prepared Production Regulations to revive these aesthetic values and the woodworking techniques associated with them, and to identify the products that best represent them. About a dozen companies, whose strength is based on the traditional character of their products, subscribed to these regulations.

Traditional products must adhere to and reflect a technical and formal tradition that has become established over time in the particular historical and cultural context of Trentino. As well as focusing on the revival of traditions, the project has created a “vivid image” of the Trentino region and its products, an image that highlights a market niche capable of allowing interesting economic developments.

The local area

Trentino covers just 4.5% of Italian territory but contains 11% of its woodland, with 56% of the province covered in forest. Woodworking in Trentino has traditionally played a major role in the local economy (accounting for 5% of the province’s GDP) and regional management. Unlike in other regions, a production system has developed here that links the forest owners to the businesses involved in the use and processing of wood. This system has gradually adapted to stay abreast of market developments and has implemented new technologies.

Ten companies are also involved in the project to promote “traditional Trentino woodworking craftsmanship”.

By Camera di Commercio di Trento with Unioncamere