For centuries the alpine pasture has been a tradition in Trentino’s mountains. It is possible to see an example of it in Torre Aquila’s frescos in Trento, painted more than 600 years ago.
So, what’s a mountain cottage?
You’re probably thinking about a wooden lodge, surrounded by green fields, with tall firs and Alps covered with snow in the background. And you would be right, the mountain cottage can be a lodge but not all lodges are mountain cottages. With mountain cottage we actually mean the building, usually made with wood or with wood and masonry, which hosts the hut guardian and cattle. Also the pasture where cows eat the grass belongs to the cottage.
Why do we bring cows to the cottage?
There are many reasons. Animals that move freely, often on arduous fields and in the open air, become stronger. This improves their musculature, circulatory and respiratory systems, and the quality of their milk and derivatives.
At this point you should have realized that products that are produced in the cottages – like cheese, butter and ricotta – are not only very tasty and organic/natural (?) but are also very rich from the qualitative point of view. If we then add to all this the amazing view on the Dolomites and the long paths among rhododendrons, you’ll understand that the mountain cottage is one of those places you absolutely cannot miss while visiting Trentino.
Which are the best cottages to visit in Cembra valley and Altopiano di Pinè?
We suggest three places you can easily reach from Hotel Tirol.
Malga Vernera (1.671 m)
t is reachable from the square with the church in Montesover, you have to walk for about 2 hours on a road that is mostly paved. This path is situated in the Cembra valley woods and is also accessible by bike or stroller. It is open all summer with the possibility of eating and buying local products. What’s more, from this place it is possible to enjoy a wonderful view on the Brenta Dolomites.
Malga Stramaiolo (1.680 m)
It is situated in Bedollo’s municipality, in Altopiano di Pinè, about 25 minutes by car from Montesover. The road is suitable to cars, strollers and bikes.
Having been recently restored, the cottage is today an agritourism that is open all year long and where it is possible to eat, sleep and buy products produced from local cow’s milk. During the summer it is also possible to attend the cheesemaking. The cottage, with its wonderful panoramic terrace, is the perfect starting point for strolls and hikes, among which is the one that leads to “Baiti del Conte” ruins, an area were King Vittorio Emanuele II’s son used to go hunting.
Malga Sass (1.950 m)
40 minutes away from Montesover by car, on top of Valfloriana and in the Lagorai mountains, between Fiemme and Cembra valleys. It is reachable by car and during the summer it offers catering, overnight stay and the sale of dairy products. Besides cows, the cottage also hosts pigs and bees. With a 30 minutes long walk in the woods, it is possible to reach the locality Prai dale Fior, an amazing scenic view on Fiemme valley.
Keep in mind that cows are in the cottages only during the summer! The alpine pasture is only temporary, the animals go there between the end of May and the beginning of June and they come back to their village at the end of September. During the way back there are always big celebrations: the cows, covered by decorations, hike down to the villages with the hut guardians. This event is called Desmalgada and it takes place every year in Bedollo, at about the end of September. It’s a great opportunity to relive the tradition and discover tastes and knowledge about the past, together with joyful music.