17 June 2018

racCONTA LA MONTAGNA: end of the first edition, new ideas for upcoming events

At the end of the first edition of racCONTA LA MONTAGNA, set up to remember Alida Bruni, the friend and collaborator of the Mountain University – Edolo campus of the University of Milan, UNIMONT would like to thank all the participants and the protagonists of the meetings, from the authors to the students, from the consortia to the organizers, and to give a brief report on the success of the event.

Including the first meeting at CIME A MILAN, on 11th December, 2017, a total of seven authors met UNIMONT students, the Valle Camonica audience and all the literature and mountain lovers who connected via the virtual classroom. Our intention was to talk about books and discuss them with authors who tell of mountains without the heroism of the great ascents and an excessively athletic approach to the mountain territory, but also seeking to avoid stereotypes that become folklore, kitsch, vernacular of the good mountain man, a worker in any case marginalized by contemporary society.

We thought that the attention could, and may also for the future, be aimed above all at texts that seek new and more complex meanings regarding life in the mountains. Books related to experiencing this exceptional environment, or expressing the wonder and the states of mind aroused by the spectacle of nature which has deteriorated or been eliminated elsewhere. Books that talk about a new mountain territory because they talk about new mountain people.

So, we started from a philosopher of cognitive sciences to read and comment on the “Lezione del freddo” by Roberto Casati. The observation and cognition of reality is the basis of any science and knowledge. The cold, and more generally the climate, is an essential paradigm for life in the mountains. Evolution and climate has determined, and does so more and more, cultures, evolutionary processes, economies, in the mountains more than elsewhere.

The second book told us about the extraordinary journey from Trieste to Montecarlo made by Professor Marcello Duranti: embracing the entire alpine range on foot. The dimension of walking, of slowness, allows greater observation and reflection, and if we take on this rhythm and this dimension in the mountains, new and different philosophies of life are born.

Traveling along a mountain route can also be seen as a metaphor for a journey full of difficulties not only physical but also psychological. The interesting meeting with Francesco Vertua and with his “Dislesia“, interpreted the mountain as, in addition to a place and a way to overcome physical difficulties, even a climb in search of a self-difficult to create, to find or rediscover.

The route that connects two neighboring communities because situated on the same mountain, but on different sides, that history has placed in different nations, makes us understand how to walk the side of a mountain or a ravine, taking one step more to reach the other side, for human beings are aspirations greater than the mountain itself because the mountain is minerality, it is a plant life that separates, distinguishes, but in the same idea of ​​sharing there is the human need to meet, exchange and know. This is the thesis and the development of “La via Schener” by Matteo Melchiorre and his beautiful book which has helped us understand how even historical research can be exciting.

We moved on to the Apennines, to know the Geografia commossa dell’Italia minore” by Franco Arminio, because Italy is a territory with a prevalence of mountains from the Alps to Etna. A territory full of villages, of situations and assessing similarities and differences is very important and decisive to understand its peculiarities.

With Pietro Maroè we understood that “La timidezza delle chiome” is aimed at offering trees a “bright life” and healthy existence. A book in which technical elements, life and the arborist’s craft are combined with a truly special philosophy and idea of the plant world.

Finally, the book “Di questo lavoro mi piace tuttoby Marzia Verona told of a world where people roll up their sleeves and face difficulties every day to fulfill their dream of being a shepherd.

We therefore met figures of new mountain people:

  • the university lecturer, a city-dweller, who sees, when about to retire, the opportunity to travel the mountains and find other and perhaps deeper roots,
  • the student for whom the mountains and their knowledge are the environment to get to know each other and to understand and overcome problems;
  • the historian who, following the success of his book, becomes a storyteller for tourists, with the background of an accordion along abandoned steps and paths;
  • the poet who, as a landscaper, promotes reading to talk about the inland villages of Southern Italian accompanied by the musical instruments of his son’s band;
  • the 24-year-old university student who works in an arboriculture company with his father to look after ancient and gigantic trees;
  • and the shepherd who, finally with a female presence, tells us about her flock, about her unconditional love for her job, and also about no less than 70 new young people under 30 who work as shepherds.

The meetings also aimed to bring together mountain literature and food and wine, so, at the end of each meeting participants were able to try some local specialities. The Consorzio per la Tutela dei vini I.G.T. Valcamonica (with the contribution of the  President Silvia Toretti and of the Director Sergio Bonomelli), the Consorzio per la Tutela del Formaggio Silter Camuno-Sebino (with the contribution of the Director Oliviero Sisti) and the Consorzio della Castagnalet us taste their products.

We were able to discover the following companies in Valle Camonica:

Now, UNIMONT is already thinking about the next edition of the event, because “events of this kind define and highlight the transversal and multidisciplinary role that UNIMONT has in the promotion of study aimed at the enhancement of mountain areas” says Anna Giorgi. “Next year the meetings will include new and stimulating literature and, as always, all the meetings will also be accessible via streaming, through the virtual classroom, and made available on demand on the UNIMONT portal”.

“An event that proposes books that otherwise, unfortunately, I would never have read or searched for.”
“The meetings allowed to link the mountains, a symbol of uncontaminated nature and beautiful landscapes, to the pleasure of reading. With each book presented, they allowed the reader to travel to heights never explored, to look at them with a different point of view and to acquire a greater awareness of the environment that surrounds them. ”


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