A little history of
Selva di Cadore
From the first hunters of 7000 years ago to nowdays
The Mondeval Man
Not much is known about the first period, except that if the Hunter of Mondeval de Sora , who now rests in the local museum, having grabbed his bow for going back hunting, would no longer recognize the valley.
In fact, about 7000 years ago, Val Fiorentina was all covered by woods. There were no clear spots, where inhabited centers are now standing, surrounded by sown fields.
This environment, for millennia, was animated only by passing hunters.
Antiquity and Roman age
Towards the end of the first millennium BC, the valley began to come alive not only with hunters but also with shepherds.
Increasing number of flocks began to cross the highest areas of the valleys around, where they could find abundant pastures: from the Passo Giau to Mondeval de Sora, Fertazza, Staulanza , Forada and Fork Roan .
All shepherds probably came from the Cadore area, already inhabited centuries before.This provenance finds confirmation in the belonging, from the end of the first century BC, of the territory of Selva to the Roman Municipium of Julium Carnicum , and has unequivocal historical evidence in the rock inscriptions of Mount Civetta, Coldai and Col Davagnin, right on the mount Fertazza.
These inscriptions consist of the words "FIN BEL IVL"; "fin" means "fines", that is "boundaries"; "bel" is the abbreviation of "bellunati" that is of the members of the Roman Municipium of Bellunum and "iul" is the abbreviation of "iulienses" that is of the members of the Roman Municipium of Julium Carnicum .
The whole Val Fiorentina , therefore, including the territory towards the Civetta, was assigned to the use of pastures by the Cadore peasants. The situation lasted throughout the millennium AD, up to the early medieval period, when some new events occurred.
The middle Ages
Around 1000 AD, human presence intensified in Selva di Cadore: not only more hunters and shepherds, but also woodcutters and mineral researchers (iron and lead).
All these people, coming from Val Boite , brought some seasonal settlements to Val Fiorentina (mainly during the spring and summer seasons) which over time, around the 12th century. approximately, they turned into permanent settlements.
Since then, the entire valley began to transform due to the activity that man exercised. At first the settlements, mostly linked to pastoralism, were characterized by "home and stable" dwellings and were located in climatically protected areas with nearby water supplies.
In these areas (Pescul, Toffol, Marin) they began to make clearings, cutting the forest and using the timber to build the stables and houses.
The first areas were precisely those closest to Cadore (Pescul), then gradually the other places ,reaching Villa and Fiorentina. At first the settlements were small, whose members, for the privilege of remaining all year round, paid according to the rules of Mondeval and Festornigo di San Vito di Cadore , owners of the entire Val Fiorentina.
Gradually the human presence intensified and it was necessary to better structure the agricultural activity, concentrating the houses in "vile" (inhabited centers) in order not to subtract space from the pastures and the cultivation of cereals and broad beans. The development of the town took place only in the east to west side (with the exception of Fiorentina) to allow prolonged exposure of the sun even during he long winter periods.
The modern age
Starting from the XIV century, handicraft and "industrial" activities were added to the agro-forestry-pastoral activities. The Fursil mines began to develop in the nearby territory of Colle Santa Lucia .
These activities involved a considerable number immigrants and the beginning of new activities such as charcoal burners and blacksmiths and the beginningof new business. The constant increase of the people forced the population to cultivate up to 1600 meters above sea level and the meadows were mowed to produce hay (essential for feeding livestock during the winter) up to 2000 meters.
It was during this period that there was also a substantial development of roads and bridges
From the twentieth century to the present day
In the last century, there were new changes: activities related to the exploitation of mines ceased, two wars were fought (Selva di Cadore was in fact the border of the Italian State with first the Austro-Hungarian Empire and then with Germany) and consequently there was an impoverishment and a strong mass emigration.
Then, starting in the sixties, everything changed. Slowly first, then whirlwind. The country at first linked exclusively to the cultivation of the land, breeding and craftsmanship experienced tourism.
It was in those years that the first inns and then the first hotels were born.
Nowadays, intensive cultivation has been abandoned, there is still some livestock farming and carpenters have sprung up instead of craftsmen.
Selva di Cadore has seen progress with the birth of ski lifts and exploiting the green pastures of Mount Fertazza of the past, in the construction of ski slopes.
Today, two thirds of the population lives mainly from summer and winter tourism, however there are still some farms that produce cheese and honey.