Traditions and legends in Val Rendena
The popular culture of the Rendena, exuberant in its expressions, is gradually going forgotten because of the ongoing superposition of the culture imposed by tourist economy and consumerism. We can still find traces of very ancient literary expression, such as the laudi of the medieval Confraternity of the Battuti, of the popular love songs called “maitinade” (meaning they were sung at dawn), the story-tellers’ satires and poems, and the community dances called “manfrine”.
Many tales of the Rendena remind the Northern sagas or the Upper Middle Ages.
Among the topics: the monster of Nambino lake, the Fox of Ritorto Lake, the Jewish of Pelugo, who was hanged by Charlemagne, the treasures guarded by spirits or demons, the witches you may meet on January 6th, the Epiphany day, the Nardis fairy, the Bedù river, red with the blood of shepherds fighting on its banks, and the religious allegoric traditions relating to Christmas, the Epiphany and to the Holy Week.
The Genova Valley - thanks to its wild & varied landscapes that have always captured the imagination of the local people -, is one of the most peculiar valleys in the whole alpine arch. That’s why there are so many legends and popular beliefs about this mysterious and spectacular valley. It also seems that the Council of Trent once used to relegate witches and devils, in Genova Valley.
Nepomuceno Bolognini, a Garibaldian colonel native of Pinzolo and a passionate ethnographer of his region, gave fairy names to the erratic blocks lying along the valley and invented a tale for each of them, with titles as picturesque as Zampa da Gal, Schena da Mul, Specchi delle Streghe, Calcarot, Coa de caval, Manarot, Orco, Belaial and Pontirol, Calzetta rossa, Polpalpegastro and Barzola, (meaning Crow’s Feet, Mule’s Back, The Witches’ Mirror, Horse-tail, Ogre and the like).
Some Val Rendena legends:
Fiabe e leggende tratte da:
Nepomuceno Bolognini, "Maitinade fiabe e leggende della Rendena"
a cura di Arnaldo Forni Editore, 1979
Ristampa anastatica dell'edizione di Rovereto, 1880-1881