A touch of orange for Oltre le Vette

“Oltre le Vette – metafore, uomini e luoghi della montagna” (Beyond the Peaks – mountain metaphors, people and places) is a festival staged by the Municipality of Belluno, which has involved the town in a busy programme of cultural activities every autumn for the last 23 years. The UNESCO Dolomites Foundation has had links with the festival for several years, but these have become even closer during the tenth anniversary year of World Heritage status. To start with, there is the colour chosen for the festival emblem: the orange of the UNESCO Dolomites.

Buzzati and the inhabited mountains

This year’s festival will run from October 4th to 13th, and the image chosen for the poster is a work by Dino Buzzati which will feature in one of the festival exhibitions: “The Seasons of Buzzati” (open until 6 January 2020). This painting is entitled “The Two Lions” and dates from 1967; it is being seen for the first time, like many other works in the exhibition. Marco Perale, Councillor for Culture at the Municipality of Belluno, offered this comment: “We chose this work precisely because it features Buzzati’s mountains; these are inhabited mountains, and the way they are depicted is very similar to the logo of the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation. Buzzati believed in inhabited mountains; he saw them gradually being depopulated, but for him they would always be inhabited by the spirit of those who had lived there for centuries.”

Fragility and resilience

The artistic director of the festival, Flavio Faoro, explained the message behind it: “This year’s edition of Oltre le Vette celebrates the 10th anniversary of the UNESCO Dolomites, and there will be many events that focus on environmental awareness and concern about climate change. Indeed, climate change has made what we call “resilience” even more crucial for mountain populations, and it involves adaptation to the changes themselves – as we saw with the devastating effects of Storm Vaia. I would like to mention in particular that after the end of the festival, on October 29th, we’ll be spending a whole day reflecting on the post-Vaia situation. The day will conclude with a concert by the accordionist Francesca Gallo, and with the screening of a film that shows the effects of Storm Vaia storm in the Upper Agordino Valley.”

Visitors are expected from all over Italy

Over its twenty-three years of history, Oltre le Vette has proved to be popular not only with the residents of Belluno, but also with visitors from all over Italy. Valeria Benni, the festival’s organisational director, explained current thinking: “We are working to create a network with other Alpine towns, because we believe we have many problems in common. So, we are going to stage six exhibitions, one of which will be supported by the Valle d’Aosta Region and will feature the Aosta Valley sculptor Donato Savin. But there will be many other guests: for example, the mountaineer Anna Torretta, who has climbed some incredible ice falls, and artists and writers like Alberto Bortoluzzi and Giuseppe Mendicino. A main attraction will be the screening of the silent film “Il Gigante delle Dolomiti” (The Giant of the Dolomites), accompanied by a soundtrack from the Belluno Youth Orchestra.”