Nosellari, Our Home in the Trentino Dolomites

We are on our fifth home exchange.  This time our homebase is in the Trentino Dolomite mountains, a tiny viillage called Nosellari.  One of the first things that struck me here was how fresh the air is.  The air is very fresh and clean and it is a real pleasure to breath it.

Nosellari is on the road between Trento (about 40 minutes by car) and Vicenza (about an hour and a half by car).  Nosellari is at about 1000 meters elevation and has about 100 inhabitants.  In contrast to how we were received in Rome (largely ignored), the people here are very friendly and helpful.

The mountains are beautiful.  High rocky peaks, verdant green valleys and fields and roads in good condition winding everywhere and passing through many lovely villages.  It is fall here and this is definitely the off season for tourism which for us is good because there are few tourists and we don't miss the summer mountain climbing nor the winter snow sports.  The only downside to being here off season is that many restaruants are closed.  In fact we needed a little tour by the parents of our exchanger to find a couple of restaurants that are open these days.

Restaurants here serve very good food in large portions.  I am determined not to redo my weight gain experience from Rome 2007.  This time Sueann and I usually order one main course (pasta, pizza or whatever) and a salad and share them.  We do not go away hungry.  The other day in Folgaria we ordered a plate of liver Venetian style (delicious brown sauce with lots of onions).  I tried to tell the waitress that we wanted to share the dish but it appanently did not take since we each got large plates of the liver dish and polenta.  However when the check came it turned out that the waitress had understood and the two large plates of food were each actually half of the normal serving.  Later we saw someone served an entire serving of the dish.  It was huge.  I think we paid 12 Euros for the dish. 

There are exactly three public businesses here in the village.  There is a small Coop market that has a bit of most everything one might need and there is a bar/albergo and a bar/hotel.  In Italy a bar is the place people drink coffee at any time as well as the occasional beer or wine or grappa.  The Coop market is part of a chain of six markets, each one in a different little nearby town.

Most of the people we see in Nosellari are elderly or just plain old.  On the weekends the roads buzz with young people on motorcycles and bicycles but I don't think they live up here in the mountains. The people on bicycles amaze me. Often they are on the steepest mountain roads and had to get there by riding up steep roads below. Some of these people are not young at all and some seem like children. I admire them and wish I had the stamina they have.

Sueann and I have a very limited Italian vocabulary and hardly anyone here seems to speak English.  I had been under the impression that German was widely spoken in the Trentino-Alto Adige state.  Maybe up north in the Alto Adige, but not here in the Trentino part of the state.  A few people speak German and we can communicate fairly well with these folk.  Some of the older men worked in France in the 1950s and 1960s and we are able to converse with these people a little in French.

Our exchanger, Andrea, is in Menlo Park using our home as a base.  He is studying English at a language school nearby.  We are in his apartment which is a nice two bedroom place in a building with a number of other apartments (we are not sure how many).  So far we have not heard a peep from the other apartments.  We understand that the building is owned by Andrea's parents, the Valzolghers, really nice and extremely helpful people.  Andrea told us that Valzolghers have been in this area since the 13th century.   In fact, Valzolghers have occupied the very place where our apartment building sits since 1213AD.  All I can tell you is that the cemetary here next to the church is filled with Marzani and Valzolgher graves.

The villages and the roads are extremely clean and neat.  One needs a special electronic key to deposit garbage into a garbage bin here.  The infrastructure of the roads is excellent.  Everything is well marked (so even we don't get lost among the tiny villages here) and the roads are well maintained.  Safety is definitely a concern on the roads.  Strong railings line bends and hairpin turns (of which there are very many) and when a road runs next to a rock face of a mountain side the face is covered with wire netting so that stones and debris do not fall on the road.  In general I find the infrastructure here in northern Italy to be in much better shape than I am used to in California.

Here are some photos we have taken around Nosellari.

Sueann and Jeff in Nosellari
                            Suean and Jeff in Nosellari

A field in Nosellari
                             A field (with several deer)  

Bee hives in Nosellari
                   Some bee hives on the edge of the village

View of mountains from Nosellari

                    Mountain view from Nosellari's Road

The next two photos need a bit of explanation.  One day as we were returning from the Coop market Sueann called me over to the side of the road to look into an opening in the rock wall lining the road.  The opening had a substantial metal grating which served to keep people and animals, I suppose, out of what ever was inside.

Grated opening in rock wall beside the road

Can you see what's inside?   Here's a better shot of the interior of the opening:

Xmas tree on board in the water

It's a Christmas tree mounted on a board floating in water.  The water must be ground water.  We imagine that the stick attached to the board serves to allow the board to be drawn close to the front of the opening so that the tree may be retrieved when needed.  It also appears that the tree has an electrical connection so that it could be lit up while still floating on the water.  You never know what you will find in these small Italian towns.

Very best wishes to you,
Sueann and Jeff

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