|Italian name : Mareta|
|province||South Tyrol (BZ)|
|Church day||penultimate Sunday in August|
Mareit ( Italian : Mareta ) is a fraction of the municipality of Ratschings in South Tyrol ( Italy ). The place is at an altitude of around in the Ridnaun Valley . It is located 7 kilometers west of Sterzing , has around 2,346 inhabitants, is the largest in terms of population fraction of the community. Mareit is historically and ecclesiastically the capital of the Ridnaun Valley. Many new buildings and housing estates have emerged in the village area in recent decades. In the area of the former brook bed of the Mareiter Bach, the brook regulation created space for the craftsmen's zone and the industrial area.
The development of the settlement is related to its location on Jaufenweg , which originally ran over Mareit and the bridge there. The tower of Mareit , attested as early as the 12th century, was considered a guard on Jaufenweg.
Only the keep of the medieval castle has been preserved. It is in the south tower of the baroque palace built around 1730. Since 1996 Wolfsthurn Castle (so named after the Wolfen family, 13th century) has housed the South Tyrolean State Museum for Hunting and Fishing . Wolfsthurn Castle - it is considered the most beautiful profane baroque building in South Tyrol - has been visited a lot since then. The chapel is a special gem. The von Sternbach family has owned the castle - this landmark of the Mareiter Valley - since it was built. The rearing wolf (see the marble stone in the wall) has graced the municipal coat of arms since 1969.
There is evidence that Mareit has been a parish since 1189: a document from that time mentions a "Fridericus plebanus de Moreit". He is the first pastor known by name in the village. The parish church dedicated to St. Pankraz consecrated, was rebuilt and rebuilt several times. After a church was built in 1349, it was rebuilt around 1440. Of the latter, the 53 m high late Gothic church tower with its ogival sound windows has been preserved to this day. The marble borders of the two side doors also date back to the late Middle Ages. The rectory, the characteristic Widum, was also built during this time. The current baroque parish church was built between 1685 and 1687. The chapel of the dead in the cemetery dates from 1751. It contains the ethnographically interesting depictions of “Death and Tödin”. There are two life-size figures in the two side niches that show death as a shooter and as a grim reaper or king. The Sternbach crypt chapel was built in the neo-Gothic style in 1850. Its neat little tower is made of white Mareiter crystal marble.
Interesting for the economy - now more than ever - is the centuries-old marble quarrying on the local mountain, the Mareiter stone. Mining is now carried out by the Omya company . In the castle, in the church and in the cemetery one encounters structural elements made of local marble. Important buyers for this precious natural stone were numerous cities of the former Austrian monarchy, where it was used for statues and various buildings. In earlier times, ore mining in the Schneeberg mine was of even greater economic importance for the valley population. In the course of history, Mareit provided a great number of miners. In this regard, Mareit was - more than Ridanna - a miners' village . The ore was also transported through the Mareiter Valley. You can still find various references to the mining era in the village: the coat of arms of the miners on the left side altar of the parish church (they probably financed the altar); the wayside shrine made of white Mareiter marble next to the access road to the village (this "Knappenstöckl" with the miners' tools, ie crossed tools, bears the year 1537); the large squire's flag that is carried during the processions; the Bremsberg (only recognizable as a lane in the forest) by the ore boxes on the steep, south-facing forest slope; the "Barbarasiedlung" in the village.
For centuries the Mareiter Bach (also Ridnauner Bach, Fernerbach, Geilbach) was considered the "horror of the valley" . He employed the village population to a great extent, who in their lack of means could only erect inadequate protective structures. The floods and the destruction of houses and cultural sites therefore shape the local history. It was only at the end of the 19th century that the building of the mighty “Church Arch” (1887) succeeded in permanently securing at least the right-hand part of the village. From the mid-1970s, the state company for torrent control created a solid work by regulating the course of the stream, so that the water hazard is now averted. Nevertheless, even today, as in the old days, there is a procession to the village twice a year with a stream blessing to continue to implore protection "from above".
Walking and hiking trails
In recent years, walking and hiking trails have been laid along the stream (e.g. the “Rundweg Mareit”), which locals and holidaymakers alike like to take. The bike path from Mareit to Sterzing, which also runs alongside the banks of the stream, is also very popular. The nature trail from Wolfsthurn Castle and the Achenrain Gorge, which has been designated a natural monument and which has been accessible via a path since 2004, enable an intensive experience of nature. The unspoilt mountain stream in the gorge and below it is one of the rare authentic natural landscapes today.
Mareit has four entrances from the direction of Sterzing: the main connection runs via Gasteig and Stange; There are smaller access roads via Telfes , Unterackern and Pardaun.
- Josef Rampold : Eisacktal, landscape between firn and vines , series: Südtiroler Landeskunde in individual volumes , Vol. 5, Bozen 1969.
- Ratschings, Ridnaun, Jaufental , series: South Tyrolean region guide , vol. 42, Bozen 1985.
- David Hofmann: The parish church of Mareit near Sterzing , Mareit 1987.
- Egon Kühebacher : The place names of South Tyrol and their history (publications of the South Tyrolean Provincial Archives) Vol. 2 Bozen 1995.
- Siegfried Kofler: The flood hazard of the Vipiteno basin by the Mareiter Bach. Determination of the floodplain areas and identification of danger zones according to Austrian guidelines . Diploma thesis, Innsbruck 1998.