Castelrottto Museum of Traditional Dress

Museum of traditional dress in Castelrotto

One of the first things you will notice as a visitor to South Tyrol is that tradition is very important here. One of the area’s historical customs involves clothing: the local people often wear their traditional costumes on special occasions and at church on Sundays. After several years of planning and preparation, a museum of traditional dress dedicated to the traditional costumes of the area has been opened right in the centre of the village, in Villa Lächler (formerly the Raiffeisen Building).

Castelrotto and traditional dress

The inhabitants of Castelrotto (Kastelruth) are proud of their traditional dress. They keep their old customs alive by wearing traditional costumes on all sorts of occasions, even though the clothes themselves no longer have the same significance they had in the past.

From the 17th century onwards, there were strict rules about clothing in South Tyrol. Clothes were a status symbol for the villagers. The peasants were only allowed to wear clothes they had made themselves, out of fabrics they had woven themselves – mainly wool and loden cloth. Only the middle classes and the nobility were allowed to wear more luxurious fabrics such as velvet and silk. It was easy to tell which village, region or valley a person came from by the clothes they were wearing. These strict clothing rules were only abolished during the reign of Empress Maria Theresia of Austria.

Over the centuries, a huge array of traditional costumes emerged. The Schlern region in particular has a wide variety of different traditional costumes and combinations, and has one of the richest heritages in the whole of South Tyrol when it comes to traditional dress.

Women’s traditional costumes always consist of a dress with an apron, while men wear robust lederhosen. Men’s costumes also include a leather belt – the ‘Fatschn’ – which is often decorated with quill embroidery.

The Museum of Traditional Dress shows the diversity of Castelrotto’s traditional costumes

The Museum of Traditional Dress in the centre of Castelrotto features three large display rooms showing the three major eras of traditional dress in Castelrotto throughout history. The costumes are presented in a striking way, accompanied by fascinating background information. Visitors and those with an interest in the subject will quickly realise that Castelrotto’s traditional costumes are some of the most splendid and colourful in the world.

The costumes displayed in the museum have been collected and documented over the course of many years of painstaking work by the Schlern Heritage Association. Some of the costumes in the museum are there on loan, since they are still worn by their owners to this day.

The exhibition in the Castelrotto Museum of Traditional Dress is complemented by historical postcards. These postcards show how traditional costumes in Castelrotto changed over time, and also how the costumes and different combinations of traditional dress used to be worn.

Visitors to the museum can also discover just how much work is involved in actually putting on a traditional costume!

Tip / Recommendation

The new Castelrotto Museum of Traditional Dress is an impressive example of how much Castelrottos love and respect their traditional costumes. Visitors to the museum can find out not only about the costumes themselves but also about the history of the area. For anyone staying nearby, a visit to the Castelrotto Museum of Traditional Dress is a must!

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