Manolo: “Nothing can be compared to the beauty and energy of the Dolomites”



“Nothing can be compared to the beauty and energy of the Dolomites”


The first edition of ‘Journey in the archipelago of the Dolomites UNESCO mountain huts’ ended with Manolo. Three meetings were held at mountain huts in the Dolomites and involved hundreds of people. 


“When I climbed to the top of a mountain for the very first time, I saw an infinity of peaks stretching away into the distance… I was stunned by the sheer chaos of it all but, after taking it in for a couple of minutes, I realised I was looking at the image of perfection”. This was how Manolo, Maurizio Zanolla, began the last of the cultural meetings ‘Journey in the archipelago of the Dolomites UNESCO mountain huts’.

The meeting took place at the end of August at the Città di Fiume mountain hut near the Pelmo massif, which belongs to the first of the nine systems designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009.

Hundreds of people turned up to listen, spellbound, to Manolo’s, the “Mago” (Magician), conversation with journalist Fausta Slanzi. “Mago” is just one of the many nicknames Maurizio Zanolla has been given over the years. This pioneer of free climbing, who was born at the foot of the Vette Feltrine and is shy by nature, spoke humbly of his life as a climber, comparing it to a metaphor for his life: “climbing, being in close contact with the mountains, has taught me so much, it has made me the person I am”. Manolo first began climbing because he felt a strong attraction to rocks, their shapes, the changes they underwent, which he noticed as he climbed over the years. He has a visceral bond with the Dolomites: “I’ve travelled the world and seen many mountains, but nothing can be compared to the beauty and energy of the Dolomites” said Manolo. “The first time I touched the rock, it was as if I had only been away for a while, and I realised I was born to climb”.

This moving account struck a chord in the heart of the people who had come to listen to him – mountain lovers, sportsmen and women, and those who had come to the mountain hut specially for the occasion.

The meeting with Manolo was the last of three which had been organised over the summer of 2017 by the managers of the Roda di Vael, Pordenone and Città di Fiume mountain huts in conjunction with the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation.

As the event drew to a close, the President Mariagrazia Santoro stressed the importance of the cooperation which has flourished over the years between people from so many different walks of life who are involved in the Dolomites on a daily basis. She underlined how the UNESCO Dolomites project has the potential to overcome administrative barriers and foster a new mindset focused on the interests of the Property and all those who live and work there.