Meet Matthias – story of a human from South Tyrol
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This is Matthias from Schenna a village in South Tyrol. He is wearing the traditional uniform of a community association.

Community and values

‘One for all and all for one’ – that’s how they roll in Schenna. If someone is in trouble or needs help everyone pitches in for each other. ‘It’s always been like this and that’s how I was raised’, Matthias explains. Matthias is a 32 year old farmer from Schenna, South Tyrol– an autonomous province in Northern Italy. Tradition, solidarity and community play an important role in this region and those values are deeply rooted in the people – as it is in Matthias. Ever since he was young, Matthias has been involved in one of the community associations as an organiser. They arrange trips and events for the community members but they also organise traditional, cultural and social events for Schenna itself. Matthias also manages the fresh water supply for his village. The water that comes from the mountains is urgently needed for the various farms in the area. Seeing that food production (apples, wine, cheese and ham) in South Tyrol plays a vital role in the population’s life and livelihood, it is a huge responsibility and time consuming job Matthias does on the side.
 

His life as a farmer

With his wife Ruth, his daughter Anna and with his parents Matthias lives on an apple farm in a beautiful (and one of the oldest) buildings in Schenna. Ever since he was a child, he has had to help on his family’s farm. There was always something to do, he explains. In 2014 Matthias took over the farm from his father and is now the 6th generation running it. Besides South Tyrol’s dependence on food production this region is also dependent on tourism – so is Matthias and his family. 10 years ago they built another house with 5 apartments which they rent out to tourists that go there in summertime for hiking and skiing in the wintertime.
This is the house where Matthias a farmer from Schenna in South Tyrol lives.
 

Innovative idea at the right time

At some point renting out apartments and running an apple farm wasn’t profitable enough as the prices for apples dropped on the world market. Matthias had to think of another way of securing his and his family’s life. Since he has always been interested in making alcohol he turned his hobby into his second profession. Resolutely Matthias decided to create his own spirit and liquor brand.
This shows all steps how to make alcohol.
He dealt with lots of bureaucracy for a long time but eventually managed to get licensed in making alcohol. He started off with 5 different types of spirits offering it to his guest only. Getting told that his brand had potential for something bigger Matthias decided that he is going to sell it at the farmers market soon and is also planning to organise tastings and guided tours on his farm. Right now he makes nut, apple, apricot, grappa and pear liquors but he is planning on making more flavours soon. He hopes that everything will work out in their favour.

 

Here you can get in touch with Matthias if you are interested in renting one of his apartments or in purchasing his spirits.

 

Watch my Vlog about Matthias making liquor on his farm:

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CATEGORY: Europe, Italy

Claudia Bartsch

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  • Kelly

    This is such a cool feature. It’s great to visit places, but I love learning more about the people and the culture.

    • Claudia

      Thanks Kelly. You are right. Its great to visit places but you can only get to know a country by meeting its people.

  • Natalie Anastasia

    I love this post, Claudia! So often we see travel guides and tips but not often enough do we hear stories of the people who live there. When truly… that is the best way to understand a place!

    • Claudia

      Thank you Natalie – really appreciate your comment 🙂

  • Isadora Koller

    I love this feature idea! Hearing the stories of the locals is the best way to learn more about the place and how life is there.

    • Claudia Bartsch

      Exactly – that´s what I want people to understand. You can only get to know a country by meeting it´s people.

  • Global Brunch

    Love this! Meeting the locals is always such a great way to find out what living in a place is really like. His story sounds really interesting and I’m sure there would be plenty of people interested in doing his tours.

  • Jamie

    Love this! It’s so true you get to know a place better by learning about the people who live there. It’s awesome to hear stories about people with innovative ideas.

    • Claudia Bartsch

      Exactly. I really enjoyed talking to him and learning about his life.

  • Vicki Viaja

    That’s nice principles they have about helping each other. It’s a really good idea getting to know a place from the local point of view. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Suze

    This was a fascinating insight into the life of a Tyrolean farmer. I wish we still had traditional costumes in the UK like they do in Austria! A great read

    • Claudia Bartsch

      Thank you. What kind of costumes did you have in the UK?