Monday, 3 September 2012

Folk Costumes of the Val Gardena

Up in the Dolomites in the Val Gardena, the first Sunday of August is the time to watch the parades of locals in their traditional folk costumes. The items worn are familiar from age old wall paintings and local carvings, for which the valley is famously renowned. Here you can see the special head decorations worn by young girls. Called in the local Ladin dialect a ghërlanda spiza, it is a light-weight dome-shaped crown, rather like a miniature papal tiara, decorated with beads, filigree flowers and little golden motifs. Hair is braided and held in elaborate - and very elegant - configurations by beautifully carved combs. The girls' costumes figure much lace and ribbon with decorated girdles and bodice laces.

For married women, as for men, broad brimmed black felt hats are de rigueur. The men wear flower strewn silk waistcoats, long jackets, leather or suede lederhosen and embroidered belts carrying an intriguing wooden stick decorated with flowers and ribbons. The costumes themselves are the pride and joy of the valley people who take great care with them and often hand them down through the generations - though there are local tailors who will be willing to measure you up, should you visit!

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