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Hoffe [Hóuve]

The Hoffe village (Borgata Hoffe) is one of the most interesting cluster villages of the Sappada valley. It is also one of the best examples of such a village because it has most of the typical features and remarkable surviving examples of the characteristic cluster architecture. Compared to the nearby Cottern and Fontana villages, it still maintains a certain urban separation characterized by grassy meadows that permit us to fully appreciate its identity.

The historical nucleus lies at the average altitude of 1250 meters, on a mostly argillaceous grassy hill that protrudes considerably from the profile of the northern side colonized by the villages' settlements.

The center of the original settlement is located exactly on a small plateau on this hill. We can see this in the watercolor by Josiah Gilbert (1873) that remarkably portrays the typical buildings and the isolation of the village from the surrounding landscape. Evidently, the contrasts of the land, jutting out from the profile of the mountain, offered a particularly favorable position for developing a village.

The original settlement was, in relatively recent times, deprived of its geometric center with the demolition of the great s'NÓzzilan-s'Schýtzn-s'Lˇisn house in 1967. The house was the largest building in the village and occupied, with its remarkable size, the square surrounded by the surviving houses of the ancient nucleus. This demolition had been preceded, in 1955, by that of the nearby s'StŔfflan stable-barn. Thus, all that is left of the original nucleus of the village is the external circle, with the addition of the new s'NŔnderlan house (whose construction, in 1960, preceded the demolition of the s'NÓzzilan house). In this area, however, we can still see two of the characteristic elements that define each village as a separate urban unit: a fountain and a small chapel. The fountain is situated near the Southwestern corner of the square, while the chapel closes its Northern side. The chapel was formerly dedicated to the Holy Trinity and, after 1937, to St. Giovanni Bosco. One missing element is the typical crucifix, of whose possible presence there is no trace or memory.

In addition to this nucleus, a part of the village with some houses and agricultural buildings of considerable antiquity and noteworthy architectural interest stretches westward along the old road ("strada vecchia"). Alongside these buildings, another fountain can be found on the valley edge of the same road.

Downhill, not far from the original nucleus of the village, the construction of a new road in 1922 encouraged people to erect several new buildings (made with non-traditional plans and building materials), none of which has any particular historical or architectural value. The only feature worth mentioning in this area is the presence of a 20th century stable-barn, demolished and rebuilt in 1989 with a combined commercial and residential purpose.