Cibiana di Cadore (1005 meters above sea level) is a charming town among the Dolomite peaks within the Boite valley, close by Forcella Cibiana, known as the town that paints its history because of the numerous murals frescoed and painted on the houses' facades by international (and lately local) artists.
Together these works constitute an open-air museum to which new art is added yearly. They represent a tight symbiosis between art, urban and architectural asset. This initiative was born in 1980 with the aim to save the town's traditions, crafts and histories of cultural heritage, by reintroducing them in terms of collective memory for public access thanks to the fine arts thus giving value in this original manner to the housing stock and at the same time making the buildings more beautiful, as was in use in Italian medieval townships.
Of particular artistic and religious interest are also the main church of San Lorenzo, built in the thirteen-hundreds, and the small church of San Nicolò in Cibiana di Sotto.
Economically tied to the craftsmanship of wood and iron, the blacksmithing craft of Cibiana was known throughout Europe.
Cibiana has also been a town renowned for competitive sport particularly standing out for its ski jumpers. First and foremost was Nilo Zandanel, which held the world record of 144 meters. He was the flag bearer of the Italian team at the 1956 Cortina d'Ampezzo Olympic Games.
Historically, this is the birthplace of the keymaking industry, of which Cibiana was for decades the main center of production. Today the history of iron and its craft is told within the "Museo del ferro e della chiave" (Museum of iron and the key).
Moving on from the smithing of iron to make cannon balls for the Most Serene Republic of Venice, smiths began producing clock hands, files and razors, and at the same time the town became the center known for the production of keys. Around the end of the nineteenth century about 50 "fusine" (smithies) were active.
Even today there is a company in Cibiana which produces thousands of keys per day and is an international leader of the sector.
Starting on e-bikes from the hotel and following The Lunga Via delle Dolomiti cycleway, you will reach the winding uphill climb which leads to the town's entrance. From here you will begin the tour of the small villages.
The first is Masariè, the locality you will reach right at the town's entrance. The small but beautiful square with the church is surrounded by some of the most famous and photographed murals. It is a string of colourful frescoes and narrow streets, porches, crossings all the way to the downhill road which leads to Cibiana di Sottothe town's most charming locality.
A pleasant and secluded path leads to the first houses and thus in the heart of the locality, where many murals face a charming yet minuscule square. It is worth it to visit the Museo del ferro e della chiave.
The last group of paintings is in Pianezzethe locality set above the main street. The little effort you will have to put in to reach it is compensated by the lovely landscape, to take in before coming back to the hotel.
Cibiana, with its murals as witness of an unforgettable human and artistic itinerary, which has to be visited.
DAY: Thursday | DEPARTURE from the hotel at 9 AM
DISTANCE: 30 km | TIME: 4 hours | CLIMB: ↑↓ 700 m | DIFFICULTY: medium