But in the early nineteenth century the perspective changed, thanks to the great passion and desire to travel that, in the wake of the great artists of the Nordic world, led the aristocracy and the rich European bourgeoisie to go beyond the Alps to learn, study, analyze and touch the artistic and natural beauties of Italy.
In 1871, thanks to the thrusts of the Austro-Hungarian military apparatus, the stretch of the Imperial-Regia Strada connecting Primiero to Fiemme was inaugurated, crossing the Passo Rolle: this is a fundamental moment for the opening of our town to the nascent tourism, more than elsewhere of Nordic origin. In that period the village saw the elitist and aristocratic tourism that already frequented other important holiday resorts.
The biographies of artists, composers, painters, writers of the late nineteenth century, are interspersed with frequent holidays in these pleasant places, where the stillness and the uncontaminated air were joined by the attendance of the “beautiful world” of that time: Princess Stefania of Belgium, unfortunate wife of the Crown Prince Rudolph of Habsburg, suicide in Mayerling, forgets the recent mourning, Strauss composes the “Symphony of the Alps”, Schnitzler sets in his fortunate novel “Miss Else”, and Adolf Loos, one of the most interesting architects of Austria and Europe, in his book “Words in the void”, he cites the Pale for a humorous paradox.
The resourcefulness of the first hoteliers, the professionalism of the mountain guides and the care of the associations and bodies such as the Società Alpina Tridentini and the Deutsch-Osterreichische Alpenverein, contribute to making it one of the most sought-after resorts of the time, frequented by the most beautiful names of international nobility. Artists, politicians, and military leaders of the Austro-Hungarian army make it their summer vacation destination.
What San Martino offers visitors is a scenario of incomparable beauty: a natural basin surrounded by centuries-old woods and crowned by one of the most imposing Dolomite groups. A definition by Gunther Langes, a few years later, will go so far as to say: “Those who have never seen San Martino di Castrozza do not know the Dolomites; here the Dolomite landscape has truly reached its maximum perfection”.
The rest is today’s history: the touristic and urban development of San Martino di Castrozza and the Primiero valley led to an incredible changement until just 40 years ago. The recent appointment of our mountains, the Dolomites, to the natural heritage of humanity traces the sign of the future development of our localities, in the perspective of an increasingly conscious and intelligent rediscovery of the assets that we find ourselves managing.
It will be a pleasure for us to have you as a guest in San Martino di Castrozza.