Dobbiaco and its history

Dobbiaco: Attractions and Culture

The first settlements date back to the Hallstatt period, the first settlers are likely to have been Illyrians. Later information testifies to the integration of the valley into the Kingdom of Norikum, which in turn became part of the Roman Empire in 15 BC. In the beginning of the 7th century the Val Pusteria became part of Bavaria and in the 8th century the Benedictines in San Candido founded further villages with independent parishes. Dobbiaco was first mentioned in official records in 827 under the name of "Duplago”.

During the Napoleonic wars from 1792 to 1815 Dobbiaco briefly became part of the Kingdom of Italy. In 1814 Tyrol was returned to Austria. In the 2nd half of the 19th century Dobbiaco slowly became established as a tourist resort. The completion of the Southern railway in 1971, the construction of the Südbahnhotel and Dobbiaco’s reputation as a climatic health resort contributed to a considerable rise in tourism.


The First World War ended Dobbiaco’s heyday. All local men were ordered to the front. Many villages were destroyed and suffering came to the people of the village. The Dolomites became the theatre of bitter fights (the evidence is still visible on Monte Piano and the Croda Rossa in Sesto). During the peace negotiations of St. Germain, South Tyrol was separated from East and North Tyrol and became Italian in 1919.

During the subsequent years the Italian Government, and in particular Ettore Tolomei attempted to “Italianise” the country. The German language was forbidden. From 1939 to 1945 there was a state of “option”. The South Tyrolean population could choose to emigrate to Germany or to remain and become fully Italian. Many of the inhabitants left the country.

During the Second World War South Tyrol was not one of the theatres of war. The situation between the South Tyroleans and the Italians became more and more tense. On several occasions the negotiations of the “South Tyrolean problem” also included Austria.

After ceaseless activity by the South Tyrolean public to retain their own traditions and language, an autonomy agreement was signed between the region Trentino-South Tyrol and the Italian government in 1948. In the following years this required improvements, but the foundations for an autonomous province had been created. Today this form of autonomy, which is unique in the world, still ensures the peaceful coexistence of the two language groups.