Heimat

LITTLE HOMELAND

THE LAND OF OUR FATHERS LEADS US

Embroidery in stone. Whoever lets his eyes wander over the green hollow of the Altopiano is soon intrigued by the meandering rows of vertical stones typically used for marking boundaries, which blend in so poetically with the rolling hills on the horizon. These rosy-hued stones called platten are the remnants of an ancient economy based on agriculture and livestock rearing that developed when the area was inhabited by the Cimbri, an ancient Germanic tribe.

Their dialect gave Gallio its name though its origins pre-date this ancient tribe, whose remains have survived to this day. Gallio in fact is an adaptation of a name, either Galatus or Gallicus, giving evidence that tribes from Central Europe passed through, settled and made the Altopiano their homeland. In fact the many different remains and testimonies of the past can be seen in the surrounding area: the prehistoric village of Bostel, pagan altars, terraced farming land snatched from the woods up to the more recent vestiges of the two world wars.

The Altopiano is also a memorial site, capable of digesting and becoming part of natural and historic events, without allowing these to sweep away this mountain microcosm. The same can be said for the platen, which are a perfect combination of artificial naturalness, centuries-old tradition and aesthetic features tracing lines in the landscape, setting boundaries, and at the same time, modifying space, moving continuously to and from between the great scenarios of History with a capital H and individual microcosms. In this sense the Altopiano appears as “a shoulder on which to carry Time” (Mario Rigoni Stern, 2004). Gallio also perfectly interprets the Heimat concept of the Altopiano, a balcony facing out onto the world, looking to perform the difficult task of mediating between the mountains and the plain, tradition and modernity, the cosmos and the family home.

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