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The traditional trades used in local crafts were largely abandoned for many years, as modern products and techniques took their place. More recently, however, these trades are coming back with vigor, as the local craftsman have renewed their appreciation of their history and tradition. In the Alta Valtellina, traditional craft is built upon three main trades: the Leñamejr, (carpenter), the Ferejr, (blacksmith), and the Sciober, (shoemaker).

Leñamejr, the carpenter

Given the abundance of the raw material derived from the forest, wood-working isan activity very widespread throughout the Valtellina, for the creation of small handicraft items, for the construction of homes, and for carving and decoration. The carpentersare sought-after tradesmen, and typically work using traditional manual techniques, limiting the use of modern machinery to only those jobs that require them.

Ferejr, the blacksmith

The blacksmithsare tradesmen still very much in demand, and the activity of ironworking is still very widespread, as it can be seen by the numerous architectural details in wrought iron visible in homes and churches in the Bormio area. The techniques and secrets of this profession, specifically those of welding and forging, are handed down from father to son, and within the forges (blacksmith shops), the anvils and hammers used to work the iron are still used as they were in the past.

Sciober, the shoemaker

The shoemaker’s craft has become a bit more lost in recent years, in fact, in Bormio only one shoemaker remains, Donato, with his small shop in the main square. In the past, in Alta Valtellina, the work of shoe repairer, albeit not very profitable, took on so much importance as to lead to the development of a specific language, the plat of sciober (the jargon of shoe repairer), which served to cut out of conversations anyone not belonging to the guild. The world of sciober revolved around the minela, the work table where there were kept the shoemaker’s various tools and molds (sharp edged dies, which in that epoch, were identical for both feet).

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