Vigo di Fassa (Sèn Jan di Fassa)
The soul of Ladin culture in the heart of the Dolomites
A village of wood and stone where the ancient Ladin language is still spoken: the ideal starting point to discover the Catinaccio Group.
The first thing you will notice when you arrive in Vigo (a district of Sèn Jan or San Giovanni di Fassa) is the view. As you look around, your gaze will wander over the Catinaccio Group of the Dolomites all the way to the Marmolada peak. It’s no coincidence that Vigo was one of the earliest tourist centres in the valley. In fact, from the dawn of the 19th century the village began to attract geologists and Alpine climbers, before becoming a favoured destination for all mountain lovers, in both summer and winter.
Today, Vigo is officially recognised as one of Italy’s Most Beautiful Villages, thanks to its natural treasures and Ladin identity. You can explore this in the town’s museums or by strolling through its streets, among the stone haybarns and the steep-roofed churches… or even at the table, in front of a plate of cajoncie da fighes.
Things to see
One of the town’s unmissable sights is the Museo Ladin de Fascia, or Fassa Ladin Museum, an innovative, modern museum that houses the ethnographic collections of the Ladin Cultural Institute. Multi-media installations, information points and the illustrations of artist Milo Manara will help you to explore the culture of the fascinating peoples who have lived in this region for thousands of years.
Close to the museum is the beautiful Pieve di San Giovanni, the church that acts as a symbol of Vigo, with its distinctive bell tower rising to a full 67 metres, roofed in grey larch shingles.
Sticking nearby, it’s also worthwhile visiting the Museo Mineralogico Monzoni (Monzoni Mineralogical Museum), which houses the most complete collection of minerals from the Dolomites, collected and carefully stored here after emerging from the sea 250 million years ago.
Outside the village, a cable car ride or a walk (for the fittest explorers) will bring you to the natural terrace of Ciampedìe at an altitude of 1998 metres, the starting point for many journeys of discovery among the Fassa Dolomites. P.S.: if you decide to go by cable car, make sure you check its seasonal availability and timetables first.
Things to do
In winter, Vigo is a Mecca for lovers of snow sports. Thanks to cable lifts, you can go straight from the village to the Ciampedìe ski facilities at around 2,000 m above sea level, in the heart of the Catinaccio Ski Area. Younger visitors, meanwhile, can enjoy the Kinderpark Ciampedie Laurin, one of the highest “Baby Parks” in the world.
During the warmer months, on the other hand, Ciampedìe becomes the starting point for many hikes through nature, offering marvellous views of the Dolomites. In summer, you simply can’t miss the Entorn Vich festival, which offers a packed programme of events involving food and wine, concerts, performances by folk groups and the revival of ancient crafts by local artists and artisans.
Things to taste
One of the most tempting ways to discover Ladin tradition is by trying one of its typical dishes; for example, cajoncie da fighes, or ravioli stuffed with figs. You must also try local cheeses, such as the Cher de Fascia or the Puzzone di Moena DOP.