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Closed farms

Closed farms

Closed farms in Tirol
The landscape of South Tyrol is remarkable in that it is clearly marked by isolated settlements. A farm often consists of a woodland clearing with a farmhouse, stable and the land surrounding it. In Tyrol‚ the expression ‚farm’ means all the buildings and land that belong to the individual agricultural ‚business’.

A farm is ‚closed’ when it may not be split up and has to be inherited in its entirety. Ownership of a farm is passed on to the successor while the former owner is still alive. In 1526 the Tyrolean ‚Landesordnung’ forbade the splitting up of property. This was to ensure the protection and continuation of farms and to prevent farm families falling into poverty. The dividing up of land had already led to farmers abandoning their farms and leaving their mountain villages in more southerly parts of Italy.

During the fascist period the law of the ‚Closed Farm’ was abolished. The majority of farmers, however, carried on with this system and it was re-introduced again as Provincial Law in the 1950s. 

Of the around 19,000 rural farms in South Tyrol, over 11,000 are ‚closed’, demonstrating a tradition has continued to be upheld and today plays a more important role than ever.