The Dorigo family and the art of the pasture industry

Amina De Biasio
Their mountain hut-cum-shop is still rustic, full of simple products made from quality local ingredients. After all, the cows up here on the Col de le Casière, in Laste di Rocca Pietore, breathe unpolluted air and eat good green grass, they enjoy the tranquillity and - why not - the high altitude panorama.
The milk is excellent, as are all of the products derived from it: fresh and aged cheeses, butter, fresh and smoked ricotta and unique products using local herbs.
The Dorigo family have been up in these mountains near the Malga Laste for the past thirty years and are set to continue their vision: let's get to know them!

Over thirty years ago, in August 1989 Malga Laste became re-populated with cows and herdsman after a long period without herds on the pastures. And it is from there that life in Malga began for Ezio and Diego Dorigo. They were just teenagers when they climbed the Col de le Casière and to try to keep the season going; they tried their hand making butter and cheese for fun.

The Malga Laste, is a great pride for the whole community of Rocca Pietore thanks to the numerous prizes and awards they won for their esteemed dairy products, today this area is a must for those who love the simple, authentic flavours of the Dolomites.

The Dorigo family, now enlarged thanks also to their children Jacqueline, Marina and Walter, manage the pasture: someone grazes the cows, someone milks them and takes care of them, and someone who makes the cheese and sells it to guests and locals. In short, everyone has his role in the chain; this is the life of the herdsman, it begins in the early morning, before the sun rises, and ends late in the evening.

Any cow, whether producing milk or dry, is a member of the Dorigo family and is treated as such. They have unique names and sometimes funny stories, like Belinda. Belinda was sold to the butcher in Rocca Pietore one day, but the Dorigo found themselves looking for her in the fields above Laste the next morning because she had escaped from the slaughterhouse to return to her beloved pastures and the loving care of the Dorigo family!

It is certainly not an easy life, but it is a life lived with intention.

There is an easy hike to visit the Dorigo family, who carry on the traditional culture in the Heart of the Dolomites, every day.

Stop and chat with Gigliola, watch young Walter make hay for the winter, taste the products with Jacqueline and Marina. See Malga Laste for what it is: an event that happened by chance and become this family’s source of satisfaction and reason for living, as well as a symbol of strength and resilience.


Photo credits: Heart of the Dolomites, Capitale Cultura Group

"You are responsible for the animals 24 hours a day, there is no Saturday and no Sunday. The alarm clock is at 4.30 in the morning and the day ends at 10 pm." - Ezio Dorigo