Upper Garda Park
Open in 1989, the Brescian Upper Garda Park extends over the territory of nine towns of the Mountain Community from Salò to Limone. The Park is not a mere geographical region, it is a place of business and the home of the people who are mainly responsible for the preservation of its environment and landscape, its peculiarities and its diversity. The activities carried out in the most mountainous areas of the Park are especially aimed at promoting agriculture, farming and primary processing activities in order to create new work opportunities for the youth. There are many environmentally friendly tracks in the hinterland today that are very popular among tourists, bikers and people who love trekking in the nature.
Among some of the rural structures found in Upper Garda Area, the barns of Rest in Valvestino stand out for their unusual construction style. Most of the barns preserved, however, are a few centuries old and only the oldest date back to the 17th century.
Traditionally, the roof was completely made of wheat or rye straw. The roofs of some of the barns have been restored with the support of the Town of Magasa, the Regional Institution for agricultural and forestry services and the Brescian Upper Garda Park Mountain Community. Today, some of these ancient buildings provide accommodation for tourists to allow them to immerse themselves in this characteristic atmosphere.
In the past, in a community as closed and isolated as that Upper Garda, the work routine was only interrupted on Sundays and during religious festivals when the village would come alive and gather together to preserve their traditions. The video shows some sequences about traditions such as the star songs and others that are lost in the mists of time.
If fish and oil are the flavours of the lake, butter, cheese and game represent the flavours of the Garda mountains. Every summer in Cima Rest, they hold a Cheese Festival as a way to preserve the town’s productive tradition, also renewed by the dairy farm in Tremosine which produces the local cheese Formagella. The spiedo is a typical dish of the hinterland.
The mountain towns of Garda.
Five other inhabited areas are grouped around the towns of Valvestino and Magasa in Val Vestino, the inner valley of the Park which connects Garda to the areas of Valsabbia and Giudicarie. The town of Tignale is formed by six smaller villages. Tremosine consists of 18 villages: one on the lake, Campione, while the other 17 are scattered over the plateau, nestled among knolls and upland plains, some surrounded by vineyards and olive trees, others by meadows and woods.
In addition to the meadows, pastures, stables and dairy farm where the cheese is produced, the work of the inhabitants of the mountains takes place in the woods. The methods of exploitation of the forest changed after the First World War when the Feltrinelli family, who were timber merchants, installed a new ropeway conveyor connected to a sawmill that can still be seen just beyond Bersaglio in Valvestino.
The advance of the forest.
One of the most visible effects of the abandonment of the mountains by man has been the forest recolonisation of those areas no longer used as grazing land or for crops. In the Garda Forest there have been countless examples of new colonisations by pioneer species: the Scots pine has colonised dry fields that used to be cultivated; the birch, the sycamore and the ash tree are found in meadows no longer mowed, especially if exposed to the North; the European hop-hornbeam has spread over adjoining meadows. The most important and symbolic effect on the landscape of the return of the forest is perhaps the presence of the mountain pine at the highest altitudes on the steeper slopes of the mountains used in the past as goat pastures.