Visitors to the Colle del Nevegal (Belluno) and the Prealps that form a link between the Venetian plain (even with a view of the lagoon) and the World Heritage Dolomites, used to describe it as a “scenic terrace”. However, from Saturday 29 August, visitors will be better informed when they gaze into the distance, thanks to the new viewing platform at Faverghera. This is the sixth to be installed by the local authorities in the various provinces and regions, using the site maps and guidelines provided by the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation.
The duty to protect and share
“We live in a beautiful area. We have a duty to preserve it, and this can only be done by the people who live in our mountains. But we also have a duty to share this great beauty with visitors from outside.” These were the words of the President of the Province of Belluno, Roberto Padrin, as he cut the ribbon on the viewing platform. It’s the second in the Belluno area after the one on Monte Rite (a third platform, on Monte Agudo at Auronzo, is due to be opened in coming months). The platform provides descriptions and context for the view from the Colle, and was made and installed by the Province of Belluno. As Roberto Padrin noted: “this completes a task started long ago, with the recognition of the Dolomites as a World Heritage Site, and was strongly supported by the provincial authority under Sergio Reolon.”
Tonina: “Hospitality and sustainability”
As Mario Tonina, president of the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation, pointed out: “The viewing platforms are one of the ways to promote the mountain culture. The Dolomites are what they are because of the people who protect the territory, and who live and work here. This summer saw a huge influx of tourists: we must ensure that our hospitality and tourist offer move in the same direction, improving those aspects that enable us to have a sustainable mountain environment.” The Mayor of Belluno, Jacopo Massaro, made this point: “We are the only provincial capital to have part of the Dolomites World Heritage site within our municipal area, and we now also have a viewing platform overlooking the site.” The viewing platform was designed by an informal group of professionals, headed by the architect Tommaso Del Zenero.
Why build a viewing platform?
What’s the point of a new structure if nature has already provided a natural viewpoint? Although many people like the viewing platforms, there are also a number of similar criticisms in relation to the initiative. It is therefore important to stress that these are places where people can learn about what they are seeing, and that they aim to raise awareness and responsibility in relation to our World Heritage site. The structures are never intrusive: they measure just 3.5m x 3.5m and are located in strategic places and on paths that can be easily accessed by people with reduced mobility. There is no need to talk up the beauty of our Heritage, but the UNESCO mandate also requires us to communicate its exceptional nature to both visitors and residents.