The origins of Sappada
Sappada is a German-speaking “island”, built around a thousand years ago following settlement by groups coming from the Tyrol and Carinthia. Legend has it that they were refugees who had fled from the village of Villgraten to escape harassment by local lords, while some scholars believe that they were settlers, attracted by mineral deposits that the valley was once rich in.
There are no written documents that tell the story of Sappada, only the oral tradition handed down from generation to generation. The origin, from the other side of the Alps, however, is confirmed by several pieces of evidence including the language, the character of the architecture and local customs.
Today, politically, Sappada is part of the Province of Belluno and has been since 1852 but the community is part of the Archdiocese of Udine in Friuli. Over the centuries the town has remained relatively isolated from neighbouring towns in its valley because of the distances and altitude differences whilst jealously guarding its German language and culture.