A village of wood and stone, at the foot of the Pale di San Martino
The little cobbled streets, the fountains, the traditional houses of wood and stone and the view of the Pale di San Martino are what make this village the ideal destination for a romantic escape from the city. Nestled at the foot of the Dolomites in the Primiero valley, just a few kilometres from San Martino di Castrozza, Mezzano features on the official list of Italy’s most beautiful villages and attracts artists from all over the world year after year.
Including, for example, the participants in the “Cataste e Canzèi” exposition who transform stacks of wood into works of art, or the singers and musicians who flock to the village in summer for the “Mezzano Romantica” concerts. This makes it a special place for art-lovers, therefore, as well as for anybody who enjoys good traditional cooking and spending their days immersed in nature.
Things to see
Our first tip for you is to explore the alleyways of the village, known as “canisèle” in the local dialect. You can’t fail to notice the contemporary art installations made from stacks of wood appearing here and there. These are the famous "Cataste & Canzèi", a permanent exhibition scattered through the streets of the village, with new works added from year to year. As you continue walking through Mezzano, among fountains in silent piazzas and old barns known as tabià, you may stumble across one of the three stòli present in the village: ancient underground passages that conveyed water from its source into the village. Remaining within the village, you can call into the Tabìa del Rico, a little museum of material culture which shows what life in the village used to be like.
If you’d like to make a little excursion further afield, a bicycle/pedestrian path starts from the gates of the town, winding its way from the Molarèn area through well-tended meadows and stunning views of the Pale di San Martino to the centre of Fiera di Primiero, where the Arcipretale church of Pieve and the Palazzo delle Miniere or Palace of Mining stand, symbols of the mining history of the Primiero Valley.
Things to do
One of the things you can do in Mezzano is… take a seat. This may seem like a strange piece of advice, but there’s a good reason for it: at certain points of the village, you can find a red chair with a bell hanging above it. Sit down, ring the bell, and in a few minutes an inhabitant of Mezzano will come to meet you and share some stories about the village with you, perhaps even accompanying you on a short walk among the works of art spread out along the canisèle. It’s a wonderful initiative, designed to welcome new visitors!
If you’re visiting Mezzano in summer, you simply can’t miss the Mezzano Romantica concerts, featuring many international musicians, such as those from the New York Music Academy International.
More generally, Mezzano is the ideal starting point for a holiday in nature in any season. During the warmer months, you can choose from the many trekking or MTB itineraries in the Paneveggio-Pale di San Martino Nature Park; while in winter you can make the most of the San Martino di Castrozza-Passo Rolle ski area, with its 60 km of slopes for Alpine skiing, centres for cross-country skiing, and routes for ski mountaineering and trekking with "craspe", the local name for snowshoes.
Things to taste
Once thing is for sure: you can’t leave Mezzano without trying the famous Tosèla di Primiero, a fresh cheese typical of the area. Traditionally, it is served in slices roughly as thick as a finger, browned in butter and served with polenta and lucanica sausage from Trentino; however, it is also available in other, more “modern” forms, such as a tosèla carpaccio.