Alpine Landscapes: Pastoralism and Environment of Val di Sole


Ancient and modern herders left many footprints all over the mountains of Trentino (Italian Alps). Their investigation enables the understanding of the interactions between human groups and alpine environments through time.


The ALPES research program began in 2010 – through a specific agreement between the Dept. of Humanities of the University of Trento and the Soprintendenza per i Beni Culturali of the autonomous Province of Trento – and is aimed at investigating the evidence of pastoralism along the Northern slopes of Val di Sole (Trentino province, Italy). So far, the project has studied the territory of Ortisé and Menas, in the municipality of Mezzana, recording several structures in Val Poré and Val Molinac. Most of the structures are huts (locally called “bait”), enclosures for livestock (“mandrie”) and rock-shelters, located between
2000 and 2500 m of elevation. Their spatial organisation enables the optimal exploitation of alpine resources, and they represent key features of a complex pastoral landscape.


Archaeological investigations have uncovered a Bronze Age site (2 nd millennium BC) as well as evidence dating from the Middle Ages and early Modern period. Many of the historical structures investigated, have been used until modern times.


The project ALPES has shown that the Alpine uplands, despite being considered economically and archaeologically marginal, feature relevant historical heritage and cultural value.