For thousands of years the Lanzo Valleys territory has witnessed men and their activities settling in a severe yet striking and captivating environment. The alpine orography deeply influenced the Valleys’ history: it has marked and still conditions their inhabitants lives, it created customs, cultural models, traditions, working and economical systems.
The most important moves of men, goods and knowledge from the mountains to the plain and vice versa, took place along mule tracks at first and then along principal routes. More than five centuries ago, groups of miners and casters arrived from other Piedmont valleys and from the Bergamo region. They brought along new manual skills and knowledge, which were learned and then treasured by the local valleys’ inhabitants. Nevertheless, foreigners and the great XVIIIth century travelers will be the true discoverers of the Valleys and their beauties. They will make known the alpine world to Piedmont, Italy and Europe.
Finally, the vacation tourism of late XIXth and early XXth centuries brought together two cultures and mentalities that will meet on the basis of daily needs, attaining a profitable exchange of information and customs. New and unhoped-for working opportunities opened to the valleys inhabitants: the chance to descend to the plain and the town to carry on modest better paid housekeeping jobs in aristocratic families, and the true possibility to improve their life conditions. The rich middle class ascent to the Valleys for vacation and the descent to the plain of the mountain people represent a circumstance that will strongly influence the way to live the mountains. Particularly in the XXth century, it will have surprising effects even if at times threatening the ecological balance of the territory.