Our train works its way down the mountain in serpentine lines, over 700 vertical meters in just 30 minutes. The Bernina Pass disappears behind us, Italy is emerging on the distant horizon. In the middle, along the ice-blue Poschiavino river, is Poschiavo. It is the largest village in the Puschlav Valley, which has a total of about 3500 inhabitants.
Sugar becomes stone
Elegant pastel-colored villas, a Gothic church, elegant cafés. People who know and greet each other on the market square eat together on a long table. It's a scene I know from TV commercials. When mozzarella or beer with social gatherings are advertised in the middle of an ideal world.
In Poschiavo, urban pomp and village cosiness mix. This is mainly due to the poschiavers themselves: many Puschlaver emigrated between the 15th and 19th centuries to find their happiness abroad. Because the only 25 kilometers short Puschlav Valley is also very narrow. Poschiavo lies at 1014 meters and the living conditions were hard - apart from agriculture there were hardly any sources of income.
She was drawn to Spain, Venice or Warsaw. There the Puschlaver, like many Graubünden farmers, learned the confectionery trade. They opened cafes and pastry shops that soon made Swiss quality famous in around 1000 cities across Europe.
At heart, the Graubünden remained loyal to their homeland: so they built palaces and villas that they knew from the cities in their small hometowns. So also in Poschiavo.
One country - four >
A look at the map reveals that Poschiavo is also a border country. While the majority of Graubünden speak German, Italian is spoken here, beyond the Bernina Pass. Even if Italy is so close - you orientate yourself to the north. A proverb says: "Italian the heart >
In Switzerland around 64% speak German, 23% French, 8% Italian and 0.5% Romansh. In Graubünden, only four southern valleys are Italian-speaking. For the Italian-speaking minority, this means that German is essential for trade relations, tourism and also university education.
You not only see the love of home here in Poschiavo, I also taste it. At the Hotel Albrici , a manor house dating from 1682, we try a three-course menu that only uses regional ingredients.
One village, two churches
Because there were also creepy times in this alpine village: In the 15th century, Protestant Italians fled here from the Catholic Church. In Poschiavo they found a new home and more followers. This is how a Protestant community came into being in little Poschiavo. The Reformation split the Christian world, the three confederations (from which Graubünden later emerged) and in particular the valleys with the strategically important passports got between the fronts of the Thirty Years' War and the confusion between Graubünden. The bloodiest climax was the Veltliner murders in 1620, in which between 300 and 600 Protestants were murdered.
That is why there are still two churches in the small Poschiavo today: the Catholic collegiate church of St. Viktor and the simple Protestant church.
How do you work together today? "Today we take differences with humor, but otherwise they are no longer important," explains Fabio, who leads us through the village. "What if a Catholic wants to marry a Protestant?" "Then maybe you have to find a priest somewhere else who thinks that's okay."
Some borders need many generations to really be overcome.
Wildflowers and herbs adorn the long pine table that stands in the middle of the village square. Known from glamorous St. Moritz, a summery Tavolata takes place annually in tranquil Poschiavo. A simple concept: Locals and visitors dine together on a long table. Regional delicacies, cool aperol and local wine are served.
Pasta, bedded on fruity tomato sauce and garnished with spicy parmesan, ends up on our plates, which are cleaned up in no time. Kaspar offers us a drink directly, he has headed the local tourism authority since 2014. Before that he got around a lot: Zurich, Rome, Egypt. While his wife is already placing plates of fragrant spaghetti on the long table with the children, he looks at his village square with satisfaction. "I know most of the people here," he says cheerfully. Poschiavo is still an insider tip among travelers, especially from Germany.
Kaspar is a connoisseur, I can tell that directly. “The Valposchiavo is small, but we produce almost everything ourselves here: there are several butchers, honey, bakeries, fruit and vegetable growers. Almost everything in organic quality, straight from the farmer to the table. I think I will stay here for a while. ”The Puschlavtal seems to be a culinary garden of Eden.
Suddenly I'm in the middle of my commercial, only that this piece of earth is not a backdrop at all.
How would it feel to be part of the family ensemble instead of just taking a look as an extra?
Transparency: We traveled to Graubünden and Ticino as part of an unpaid press trip. Many thanks to Switzerland Tourism for the great organization. We would love to come back!