Italian little Italies: Mezzano, scattered rural signs
- WTI Magazine #136 Feb 20, 2021
Mezzano lies at the foot of the famous Dolomites Mountains called “Pale di San Martino”, recently recognized by UNESCO as world heritage.
The centre of Mezzano is made of an almost continuous sequence of old rural, residential stone and wood buildings that follow the ancient way to Feltre. There are no monumental buildings in this borgo, but it can be considered a monument of great value in itself as the testimony of the cultural, social, religious and economic history of an agricultural and rural community. All the borgo is marked by narrow streets for the ancient farm vehicles, irregular openings with stone fountains, lush and blooming gardens, a series of signs – false ashlar, friezes, stringcourses, frescoes of a naive but intense religiosity.
Restoration works have been made philologically: reuses are respectful of ancient times, new buildings (including the civic centre that have been recently awarded in a national competition) showing the presence of contemporary architecture in line with the spirit of tradition, recent paintings representing the legends and the nature of the place.
Mezzano, therefore, is almost intact in its identity and also enriched by the presence of new elements successfully inserted into the original city structure, striking scenery of ancient religious ceremonies and festivals; a rare example of a small mountain village evolving without betraying its past of archaic, farm and magic place.
The route winds through the five main themes of the borgo: 20 murals, more than 100 wall inscriptions, 400 gardens, the water system, and architectures.
Outside the borgo there are three middle-altitude mountain tracks, marked and well described, and other routes between farms, dairies and tabiàs (typical wooden constructions)
Various hypothesis have been advanced about the origins of the name “Mezzano”: it might derive from its position in the middle of all other villages in the Primiero valley. Or perhaps from the name of the Venetian family “De Mezan” who ruled in this area.
Local products and dishes
Tosela is a typical cheese made with fresh milk, good if cooked in a pan with a crispy rind; botiro (butter) of pasture; brazedel, a propitiatory sweet for New Year.
Among the crafts products, here hand-made wool and linen fabrics are woven on antique looms, unique in Trentino region.