Val Gardena's traditionalCraftwork


The creation of wood-carved figures is a century old tradition in Val Gardena which harks back to the long winter nights, during which people fantasized and tried to give wooden blocks a shape with rudimentary objects. At the same time carving was an opportunity to give shape to individual impressions, beliefs and life stances. Masks and everyday items were the most carved, followed by wooden toys and religious figures, which only testified to the improved technique and the achieved artistic finesse of carvers.

What had started as a small endeavour around 1600 had become a main trade at the end of the 18th century for many people in this Dolomite valley. The establishment of an art and design school, the construction of the road of Val Gardena as well as the establishment of a sales cooperative all contributed to the overall improvement in the valley. The carved and exported objects were mostly Christian figures, such as representations of Mary, angels, crucifixes and nativity scenes.

Unika & ART52

ART52 – Exhibition of handcarved sculptures and art-paintings

At the Art52 permanent exhibition of the artistic handcraft in Val Gardena at the Congress Center in Ortisei, visitors can admire woodcarvings of our best artists and artisans. In Val Gardena woodcarving, painting and gilding are crafts with a long famous tradition. The beginning of artistic woodcarving dates back to the middle of the 17th century. Since then woodcarving became the most important economic activity in the valley, getting well known all over the world through its unique masterpieces and original products. The permanent exhibition Art52 of arts and crafts shows hand carved work of individually working sculptors as well as products of large organized workshops. Completely hand carved sculptures are marked with specially a created trademark (a small metal plate) which is accompanied by a certificate guaranteed by the Chamber of Commerce of Bolzano.

  • ART52 is open every day from 09.00 a.m. until 10.00 p.m.

UNIKA – Fair of sculpture and art gallery

Unika started 1994 in Val Gardena as a group of artists with the common aim to promote their work directly to the public and present their ancient and still modern professions of artistic trade. The group of initially 30 sculptors has since grown to over 40 members, 30 of which participate every year in the “UNIKA - Fair of sculpture” in Val Gardena.

For three days they transform the Tennis centre in which the event takes place into the largest workshop in the world, thus offering the possibility to the visitor to watch the creation of an unique work of art, get information about the ancient tradition of wood carving in Val Gardena and consider the purchase of a special work.