A bit of history
In the same way that we can find out so much about an animal from its footprints, we can get to know about a Valley from traditions, its old sayings, from its houses and churches, roads and footpaths; all the tracks that the local inhabitants have left behind over time.
Since the 13th Century, thanks to the water’s driving force and the abundant presence of iron ore, the Valley of Zoldo was the site of metallurgic and mechanic activity. Forno, Fusine, and Fornesighe, for example, take their names from the artisan activities that took place there.
For many years, the valley’s economy was based on the production of iron and, in particular that of nails that were largely exported to Venice.
Together with the miner’s activity and that of nails makers, there was also a vast amount of coal produced. Still today, one can find evidence of large circular charcoal kilns called aiàl in the woods where poiat was made.
During the 17th Century, a furious plague decimated the population, an excessive stripping of forests, but above all, the exhaustion of the ore reserves, combined with external competition, ensured a slow decline of the iron production activity in the valley. At the end of the 19th century, the activity ceased totally.
This instigated a strong emigration, initially more out of necessity than choice. At first, the emigration heading out towards the Veneto region, working as travelling vendors, selling cooked pears and apples. This reached the city of Venice, where the activity developed into the artisan trade of building gondolas. Finally, the emigration moved out into the whole of Europe.
From an unhappy phenomenon of local decline of work, the locals of Zoldo, through their inexhaustible hard work, managed to gain large rewards. Pascqualin should be remembered for his construction of the Accademia bridge in Venice. We should also not forget the well-known Colussi name in the confection industry. However, today, without any doubt, the locals of the Valley of Zoldo remain know throughout the world as masters in the production of ice cream of the highest quality.