The UNESCO Dolomites Foundation could only give one possible response to the appeal by Paralympic champion Oscar De Pellegrin, by saying: yes, here we are. The document giving extra backing to the team already working to make the mountain accessible to all was presented at the Marmolada, in the company of other local bodies and associations. It is the natural continuation of the Accessible Dolomites project, which already involves the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation, Assi Onlus (the association chaired by De Pellegrin) and other associations. The aim is to map those routes accessible to the elderly, families and people with disabilities (23 paths are already mapped, some of which need reviewing after Storm Vaia, and over 40 are still being mapped).
It had to be Mount Marmolada
The choice of the Marmolada was certainly no accident; De Pellegrin‘s ascent to Punta Rocca showed how accessible the route is with the systems now in place. This project was planned and achieved by Marmolada srl, whose president, Mario Vascellari, also announced an intention to allocate 10% of the day’s collection to the #SOSerrai campaign launched by the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation for rebuilding the path in the Serrai di Sottoguda gorge, one of the pedestrian routes accessible to all. And as there are not only objective barriers, but also subjective limitations that we would all like to overcome, Moreno Pesce, a transfemoral amputee, decided to confront the ascent to Punta Penia in the company of a guide.
Written in black and white
Symbolic actions are important, but so is the “paper”, especially when key events such as the Olympic Games and the Milan-Cortina Paralympics 2026 are now on the horizon. A very brief testing-ground for declarations of intent, already set out in the document signed during a round table discussion involving Andrea De Bernardin, Mayor of Rocca Pietore, Oscar De Pellegrin and the director of the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation, Marcella Morandini. Also taking part were the president of the Veneto Regional Council, Roberto Ciambetti; the president of the ANEF (National Association of Ropeway Operators), Valeria Ghezzi; the president of the Veneto Regional College of Alpine Guides, Marco Spazzini, and the president of the Veneto Ski Instructors Regional College, Luigi Borgo. But inscriptions have already arrived from the Soccorso Alpino, Tofana Srl, and DMO Belluno. Everyone has signed the commitment to break down architectural and mental barriers to mountain accessibility.
The comment by the Paralympic champion Oscar De Pellegrin
“When the Dolomites were proclaimed a World Heritage site,” declared Oscar De Pellegrin, “my first thought was that in reality a section of humanity never had the option of enjoying them to the full. Accessible Dolomites and Article 3343 served to underline the idea that everyone should be able to experience the mountains. Of course, this should be in line with your personal capacity. But enjoying the amazing views, breathing in the scents, and watching the birds and animals, are experiences that can and must be guaranteed to as many people as possible. I am thinking not only of the disabled, but also of families with small children, and the elderly. This is why we mapped the easiest paths, and involved the managers of mountain huts right from the start. Now, with the signing of this document we have extended the commitment to remove all barriers to hoteliers, ski-lift managers, and all those with businesses associated with the mountains.”