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The History

Rediscovering the Highlands

Between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the Walser moved in small groups from their homeland, starting a slow process of colonization of the Highlands (a term used to indicate the mountain regions inhabited by man). In agreement with the owners of those lands, they settled there to till them and make them fertile.

The uncultivated lands destined for them had such characteristics that no one before them had managed to use them: only the determination and the ability to adapt of these people were able to mitigate the impervious nature of those places.

The Walser transformed the High Lands from a harsh place usable only in summer to an environment habitable all year round, where it was possible to build a permanent home.

The way the Walser exploited the land in a balanced, discreet manner solely dedicated to selfsufficiency, was well suited to the typical harshness of those altitudes.

But who are they?

Population of Germanic origin, in the last centuries of the Middle Ages the Walser, divided into small nucleuses, moved from the Valais, their native land, and formed permanent settlements south of Monte Rosa, in the Grisons, in Voralberg, up to the extremities of Haute-Savoie, the Bernese Oberland, Upper Ticino and Tyrol.

The name Walser is the contraction of the German term Walliser, or “Valaisian”, an inhabitant of the Canton of Valais. We have obtained this name from the writing Homines dicti Walser, dated 1319.