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.
Points of interest
Church of San VigilioPinzolo’s 10th century Church of San Vigilio features, on its main facade, one of the most extraordinary frescoes of the entire valley, and perhaps of all the Alps: the Danse Macabre, a series of frescoes depicting various life-sized figures from medieval society, engaged in the danse macabre alongside skeletons pierced by arrows (representing death), indicating the concept of the inevitability and impartiality of death. Throughout the work there are symbols pointing to the frailty of terrestrial things and the inexorable passing of time.
The entire series, including the lower works depicting the Seven Deadly Sins that have partially been lost, was created in 1539 by Simone II Baschenis, together with the majority of works within the church. There are also traces of works done by other members of the family in the late fifteenth century, such as the external lunettes of the side entrances, decorated by Dionisio Baschenis (born in 1493) and depicting St. Vigilius and Christ crucified with the Virgin Mary and St. John.
Monument to Cutlers and Viale Trento Since 1969, the monument to cutlers has welcomed all who arrive in town along the main road. The work of a Franciscan monk, Silvio Bottes, it is a realistic sculpture of a cutler sharpening knives with a characteristic pedal-operated grinding wheel. The work was commissioned and carried out with the support of many local cutlers working throughout the world to commemorate the history of their craft and as a sign of respect for all those who have experienced this way of life to varying degrees of success. Along the sidewalk, not
far from Ciclamino Park in front of the town library, you will find the Passeggiata dell’Emigrante (the Trail of the Emigrant), a path made up of 92 granite slabs bearing the names of the nations and cities around the world to which locals have emigrated in search of better fortunes.
The SAT - Nepomuceno Bolognini MonumentIn Ciclamino Park in front of the town library, there is a monument dedicated both to Nepomuceno Bolognini, an important local figure who did great things for the area’s culture and development, and to the mountaineering association he created, the Società degli Alpinisti Tridentini (SAT). This monument is made up of a granite base from which two great copper elements appear to almost explode upward towards the sky as a representation of Bolognini’s love for his homeland and its culture. The work was called for by Pinzolo mayor Carmelo Binelli and was created by local artist Ivo Maria Bonapace. The monument was inaugurated in 1972 in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the SAT in 1872 in Madonna di Campiglio
Monument dedicated to Alpine Guides Alpine guides are also commemorated in Pinzolo with an evocative monument in the form of a great, jagged granite boulder from Val Genova representing the mountains, a land of discovery and heroism, as well as of misfortunes (hence the names of guides who have lost their lives as a result of their service listed on a nearby star). The Pinzolo monument, chosen by the mountaineer and climber Clemente Maffei Guerèt, is located in Ciclamino Park in front of the town library.
Monument in memory of Adamello ColliniAlso located in the Ciclamino
Park, the monument to Adamello Collini, one of the first alpine guides who contributed to the rise of mountaineering in the valley, was inaugurated in July 2013 and features a great block of granite on which there is a bust of Collini and a commemorative plaque. It was during the Second World War, while Collini was taking advantage of his knowledge of the mountains to
help dozens of German deserters, fugitives and prisoners save themselves by leading them from his mountain shelter to the Swiss border. But he was discovered and taken to a subcamp of the Mauthausen Nazi concentration camp in Melk, Austria, where he would eventually die on February 12, 1945, just a few weeks before the liberation.
Campicioi cemetery The story surrounding this cemetery, located in the area known as Campicioi, along the road that goes up to Prà Rodont, begins in 1916, when the Austro-Hungarian military command asked the District of Pinzolo to provide an area in which to bury their fallen soldiers. The cemetery then began taking in fallen soldiers from the Adamello front as well as from other military and civilian cemeteries. In 1922, the cemetery transferred back to the District of Pinzolo and continued to be used for its original purpose, accepting a total of 298 bodies. After 1924, families began requesting that bodies be exhumed and taken to other cemeteries, but the cemetery survived for a few more years until, in the 1960s, it was lost as a result of construction work in the area. However, there remained a desire within the Pinzolo community to rebuild an important moment in their history, so the cemetery was restored, in the autumn of 2014, in a location just uphill from its original site, with the construction of a small wooden chapel, fencing, and crosses based on vintage photos of the cemetery as it once was.
San Gerolamo’s chapel The original construction of this small but characteristic chapel was the initiative of monks from the Campiglio monastery, who needed it as a secondary site to the larger Santa Maria monastery. It is not known whether this chapel was built first or the surrounding village of Baldino (which, over the centuries, was absorbed by nearby Pinzolo), in part because the origins of the village are also unknown, although they certainly date back to medieval times. From the 1500s, there is documentation of a restoration of the small church, which was still owned by the monks, and a century later a golden altar made of wood, depicting St. Jerome transcribing the Bible as well as Our Lady of Sorrows, was added and remains within the chapel to this day. The church remained active until 1825, when it was closed by the Bishop of Trento because there was no longer anyone there to take care of the chapel or officiate religious ceremonies.
Painting of Trenti Local artist Sergio Trenti left behind an enormous number of works in his unique style, featuring great, angular, faceless human forms. Found throughout the Val Rendena and Giudicarie these works are well-known, also internationally, for their unique style and their focus on local history, culture and tradition. However, Trenti placed particular emphasis on human suffering and the difficult lives of peoples of the past and of the modern world, tarnished by hate, violence, tyranny, and solitude. In Pinzolo, for example, you will find la filatrice in Casa Manzoni
in via F. Filzi, la rugia in the Baldino district, la cort dai sèt pachè murtai, also in Baldino, the Spizuclun on Casa Maturi in via Carè Alto, the Carrettiere at the Egal bar and the one on the north facade of the Pinzolo nursery.