Tradition says that the name of Pinzolo is linked to the Sarca river, when the flooding torrent swept away the old settlement of Baldino, sparing only a “pinza” (corner) of the territory, according to one version, or a single pine (pin sol) as another interpretation has it.
Pinzolo is located at the bottom of the valley between majestic mountains and near the confluence of the two major branches of the Sarca (Sarca di Genova and Sarca di Campiglio), at the point where the alluvial plain is at its widest. It was already a renowned mountaineering tourism centre at the beginning of the century and in the post-World War II period it grew in size, eventually covering the entire valley floor from Giustino to Carisolo. Catering for both winter and summer tourism, it is a starting point for ascents and crossings in the Adamello-Presanella Group, in the Brenta Dolomites and in the Adamello Brenta Natural Park.
The economy has also flourished on account of the timber industry and crafts, commerce, cattle breeding and the food industry.
Pinzolo is recorded in medieval history through documentation about its economic and religious history and especially because of the Compagnie dei Battuti, one of the first religious orders of its kind in Trentino. The Pinzolo municipal archives contain a recent version of the statute of the Confraternity; however, the order itself left a much larger and more concrete nucleus of evidence of its founding sincerity and fervour. The Battuti were a religious congregation of lay people dedicated to spirituality through long acts of prayer, severe penance and commitment to social and charitable actions.
Nepomuceno Bolognini, one of the most representative figures of the Trentino Risorgimento, was born in Pinzolo in 1823. In 1882, he founded the SAT - Società Alpinisti Tridentini - in his home town, and became active in divulging and spreading knowledge of Pinzolo history and folklore. In keeping with the area's reputation as a tourism and mountain centre, the first Italian Alpine Rescue Corps was established there in 1952, thanks to the work of Angiolino Binelli.
The Adamello area was a significant theatre of operations in the First World War, and the town of Pinzolo suffered badly in terms of deaths as well as dangers and difficulties. Endemic poverty in the entire Rendena Valley and Pinzolo forced many of its inhabitants, especially at the beginning of the century, to abandon their land and emigrate in search of work and a better life. In 1969, a monument was erected at the entrance to the village in memory of the knife grinders of Pinzolo. Known colloquially as the “moléte”, they travelled the world with their grinding wheels to sharpen knives and blades.
The municipal territory also encompasses the villages of Sant'Antonio di Mavignola (1120 m) and Madonna di Campiglio.