Val Colvera

Land of great craft traditions gathered all in Frisanco and in the hamlets of Poffabro, Casasola, Colvere, Pian delle Merie and Valdestali, where the rural architecture is characterized by houses with three or four floors with wooden balconies supported by tall stone pillars.

Dominated by the summit of Mount Raut, Val Colvera is crossed by the same name river that along its course has shaped the rocks into typical cavities like Landri scur and Landri viert and has created  an impressive gorge named Bus del Colvera . The municipality is divided into many small villages placed in proximity of rivers or on the sunny slopes of the hills that characterize the valley. The valley carved by the Colvera river opens towards the plain of Maniago with a characteristic and picturesque gorge of calcareous walls, vertical in some sections.

Background history

Date back to the Middle Ages the first information about Poffabro and Frisanco: in a judgment of 1339 concerning a dispute for borders, they were are already mentioned as settlements built on the estates of the spouses of Maniago and Polcenigo. Fabio from Maniago speaks about the origin of Poffabro, at the foot of Mount Raut on the left side of the Colvera river from families who had leased farms from the spouses of Maniago in the area.

Frisanco would have had a similar origin, from the rental, sale and exchanges carried out in the area by the Counts of Polcenigo and from the Fanna and Cavasso communities until the sixteenth century. The village of Casasola instead was born from a few scattered houses on a former farm. The name is mentioned for the first time in 1436, while a document of 1624 speaks of four “alone houses”, as many of the main branches of the family Di Rosa settled there. In 1644 Poffabro and Casasola coalesced into one village under the Counts of Maniago, while Frisanco remained under the Counts of Polcenigo.

The entire period between the seventeenth and eighteenth century is marked by quarrels between Maniago and Poffabro about pastures and haying rights, between Poffabro and Casasola for the  Mount Radolin and so on, among events that see pastures overrunning, illegal cutting of lumber, theft of goats and fodder, accusations and counter accusations. The merging into a single municipality took place only in the Napoleonic era (decree of September 28, 1810): Frisanco (788 inhabitants) became the capital, including Poffabro and Casasola (together 617 inhabitants).

Typical architecture and landscape

The typical architecture is the most scenic and environmental value of the valley, thanks to careful renovation carried out following the damage caused by the earthquake of 1976. The exposed sandstone, arches and arcades, the galleries, the paved paths and wonderful ways of aggregation of the buildings are fascinating testimonies of the past customs and traditions, now almost disappeared. The mainly rural architecture, defined “spontaneous,” presents in most cases an aggregation of buildings, derived from common security reasons, savings in the construction and protection of the surrounding farmlands. Next to some old, valuable, lodge buildings, clearly prevails wood structures with galleries and vertical protections, both open terraced open or with court. The complexity, which derived from a morphological conditioning of the places and the limits of the property in the evolution inside the built-up areas, has led a remarkable architectural enrichment, due to the unity of language and materials.

The repetitiveness of the architectural elements (materials, shape and arrangement of the rooms, sloping of roofs and more) and the continuity of the facade make the environment look as a whole. Despite this, the different heights of the buildings, the different extensions of the pitched roofs, the different lengths of the facades, their arrangement almost never in lined up, the different shades of color, the alternation of buildings and protection walls, prevent the unity from becoming uniformity and convey expressive richness to the environment.

In this context a particular importance is assumed by the seemingly minor decorative motifs: the carving of a wooden wall, the sculpture of a fruit on a fence, the reference to the cultural traditions of the area. And just these details give meaning and flavor to the spontaneous architecture. (Taken from E. Pascolo, guidebook about construction projects in rural areas, 1978). In the territory that extends between the Colvera and Muie valleys, in a zone out from the major population centers are distributed some smaller towns and loucs, result of an deep colonization of the area and a very intense use of the land (meadows, pastures and woods ), which remains constant up to the first post-war period.

In the loucs people lived and worked in spring and summer from May to September; consisting of a private house, barn-hayloft and surrounding plot, they represent a common element of the entire landscape, now witnessed by the myriad of buildings invaded by the woods.