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19 May 2020

Visiting the viles

Drawing by Roswitha Asche

Viles are typical rural settlements in Val Badia located between 1200 and 1700 m altitude. These differ from South Tyrol’s typical farmsteads as they constitute an agglomerate of attached homes, as well as differing in terms of their estate and how they are structured across the region. Viles consist of a living area, a stable, a barn, and annexes. The buildings are all built on a road which climbs up from the bottom of the valley. You can reach the barnyard, stable, and barn – which is normally the largest building out of the group – from the main road crossing a small bridge. The stable is housed in the lower part of the building, while the harvest is placed on the upper levels. Next to the barn you have the home proper. Around these two main buildings you can find annexes which may or may not be directly attached to the main building and include the outdoor furnace and stove, a stable for horses, a hay loft, a hive, chicken coops, vegetable gardens and a manure heap. What is so special about viles is that the inner courtyards and the connecting meadows and forests are divided and distributed equally amongst the different farms. The viles boast a form of common economy based on mutual support. Alpine farm democracy, if you will. You can visit Miscì and Seres to find some viles in the Longiarù valley. They are well worth a visit.