The land of the white asparagus
Zambana's origins were as a transit place on the chief line of communication, the river Adige. In fact, until 1850, before the railway was built, the river was the fulcrum of Trentino's economy.
The area has been inhabited since prehistoric times, as witnessed by the archaeological finds uncovered nearby: of particular note is the series of strata from the mesolithic period (8,000 years ago) complete with a female skeleton known as “the Vatte woman”( the remains are in the Natural History Museum in Trento).
The village lies at the foot of the Paganella mountain at the entrance to the Val Manara, once a line of communication between the Adige Vallley and the southern Valle di Non. It was badly affected by the surrounding marshes and the waters brought down when the river Valmanara was in flood. Once diversion of the river Noce had solved the problem of the marshes, Zambana started to specialise in the production of white asparagus in the second half of the nineteenth century. Today the crop is famous throughout Italy.
In the twentieth century Zambana briefly developed as a tourist destination following construction of the Fai della Paganella cable car. This development was suddenly terminated by a disastrous rock-fall in 1955 and 1956, which almost completely destroyed the village.
Among the ruins, only the beautiful church of SS. Filippo and Giacomo (16th century) remained standing, which was separated from the village by a protective wall. It has recently been restored. The village was reconstructed nearby as Zambana Nuova (New Zambana) and most of the inhabitants moved there. Its church is also dedicated to SS. Filippo and Giacomo and in the main square two boulders stand as a memorial to the 1955 rockfall.
A new modern bridge links the two villages.