News | SOSerrai: working together for a rebirth
We need to raise one million Euros to restore the Serrai di Sottoguda. Together we can make a difference! The fund-raising effort has started. Visit: www.dolomitiunesco.info to find out how to link your name to a project that will help restore an iconic feature of the Dolomites.
A sense of shared commitment
On October 29th 2018, Storm Vaia brought terrible destruction to the Dolomites, and images of the pain and misery it caused remain etched in our memories and our hearts. But our sense of impotence was soon replaced by a determination to act. And now this desire to act can include all those who want to contribute.
The first to take action? Our students!
They collected 2385 Euros to help rebuild the Serrai di Sottoguda pathway. They did this by offering their own work, including booklets about villages in the local area, water-colours and quilling. Helped by their parents and teachers, they sold these at the Christmas markets. These were pupils at the “Rodari” Institute of Santa Giustina (Belluno), and were the first to get involved in the SOSerrai Crowdfunding appeal. On Saturday 9 February 2019, the money raised was formally handed over to the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation, in the person of Cesare Lasen, a member of the Scientific Committee.
And now the fund-raising initiatives are increasing: the Belluno actress, Susanna Cro, brought her show “Vajont. Viaggio nell’Oltre” to Verona on Saturday 9 February, donating all the proceeds from the evening to the restoration of the Serrai Gorge.
Who does what
When there’s urgent work to be done, the tasks must be shared out between us. So, the Municipality of Rocca Pietore is organising an Ideas for Action Competition to find the best project, and the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation is paying for the planning.
And any individuals, associations or companies who wish to contribute can also make a donation.
The restoration project
Storm Vaia of October 29, 2018 destroyed the pedestrian route, making the bridges, barriers and rock walls totally impassable, and carrying away the material from the Pettorina river-bed. The spectacular gorge that links Mount Marmolada to Sottoguda, one of “Italy’s most beautiful villages”, is now inaccessible. The Ideas for Action competition will favour the project that offers the best combination of:
- environmental sustainability;
- disabled access;
- innovation and adaptability to climate change (which may trigger similar events);
- enhancement of various aspects of the Serrai, in relation to its geology, geomorphology, landscape and historical background.
Why the Serrai in particular?
There are various reasons why the Serrai di Sottoguda was chosen for this highly symbolic initiative. Here are some of them:
- The gorge is one of the main entry points to the Dolomites UNESCO World Heritage Site. This amazing gorge, carved into the rock by glacial erosion and by the action of the Pettorina river, allows direct access to the Queen of the Dolomites, Mount Marmolada.
- Walking through the gorge is an extraordinary experience, bringing you up close to the “sublime” essence of the Dolomites.
- The steep rocky walls can be read like pages in the history of the Earth, but the route can also be easily managed and enjoyed by anyone: families, the elderly, or people with disabilities.
- The cliffs are made up of the same limestone rock as Mount Marmolada, formed about 235 million years ago and so not subjected to the process of “dolomitisation”. These walls are therefore a valuable resource in terms of geology.
- In summer, the Serrai gorge is a popular choice for easy walks. In winter, these cliffs soaring up hundreds of metres become coated in ice, which takes on extraordinary forms to the delight of ice-climbing enthusiasts.
- For the Municipality of Rocca Pietore, the community hardest hit by Storm Vaia, the gorge is a vital source of income.