Chies and its mountains. The 21st edition ended on Saturday 29 October on the Valbona Pass at an altitude of 2130 metres above sea level with a Holy Mass after an intense and exciting final week.
On Tuesday 25 October, ‘Chies e le sue montagne’ hosted Fulvio ‘Bubo’ Valbusa, a Veronese from Bosco Chiesanuova who for 20 years was a cross-country skiing athlete with the State Forestry Corps and the Italian national team, in the Lamosano multipurpose hall. In his palmares, in addition to victories in the various championships in the various categories, 5 medals at the World Championships, 5 participations in the Winter Olympic Games with the silver medal in Nagano 1998 and the unforgettable gold medal in Turin 2006 in the 4×10 relay together with teammates Zorzi, Di Centa and Piller Cottrer. September 2021 saw the publication of his novel, written together with Serena Marchi, a successful writer, entitled ‘Randagio’, in which Bubo recounts his life before, during and after skiing; from his childhood spent in a visceral bond with Silvio, his twin brother who died at the age of 15, to the years of professional skiing, up to the encounter with two wolves who arrived by chance in Lessinia in 2012, where he was already a member of the Carabinieri Forestali and who completely changed Fulvio’s life and character. The audience that flocked to hear him on Tuesday was ‘transported’ to his beloved land of meadows and woods, where Bubo bared all and everything without hiding the emotions of the man beyond the athlete.
On Friday 28 October, in the hamlet of San Martino, the protagonist of the penultimate event was Silvio ‘Gnaro’ Mondinelli, born in 1958 in Gardone Valtrompia but who moved to Alagna at the foot of Monte Rosa. Ex-financier, mountain guide, but above all the second Italian, after R. Messner, to have climbed all 14 mountains above 8000 metres without supplementary oxygen. At the marquee, about a hundred people had the opportunity to share with ‘Gnaro’ a doc-film summarising his sporting career, his feat completed in 2007 on Makalu, and his philosophy of life, which leaves nothing to improvisation: from nutrition to physical and mental preparation, even now that he accompanies his clients to the peaks of the world. All this with a focus concretised in fundraising and building schools for the neediest populations encountered on his travels.
At the end of the 21st edition of ‘Chies e le sue montagne’, the customary mass celebrated since the first edition on a peak or a fork of the mountains of the Alpago basin.
On Saturday 29 October, on an unusually warm late autumn morning, more than 80 people reached the Valbona Pass at 2130 metres, just below Col Nudo, a pass that acts as a watershed between the Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions and that hundreds of years ago was used by the people of Valcellina and Alpago as a connection and exchange route, or to avoid duties and transit taxes. Saturday was the occasion for a twinning between the municipalities of Conca and those of Alta Valcellina, namely Erto and Casso, Claut and Cimolais. All the representatives of the various administrations were present, some of them coming directly from the village of Cellino, and in his opening greeting, the Mayor of Chies d’Alpago, Gianluca Dal Borgo, described the Valbona Pass as a symbol of a common passage between mountain municipalities with the same peculiarities and real difficulties, and for this reason with a desire for collaboration. “It was a historic twinning of friendship. Certainly the Valbona pass had always been seen as a mountain barrier separating us, because we live here in the basin and they live on the other side of our mountains on the Alta Via route number 7. Since Saturday 29 October, however, the Valbona pass has become a threshold for coming together between valleys, thus a moment to get to know each other, to form an alliance, but also to receive stimuli to improve once we return to the valley from our communities, to our territories”.
Don Rinaldo Ottone’s homily was always topical and profound, capable of moving those present to the memory of all the friends and acquaintances that the mountain, a wonder of creation, has taken with it. On the return journey, some fifty people had lunch at the Locanda San Martino, where there was an exchange of gifts between the administrations. Appointment for 2023 for a new edition of ‘Chies and its mountains’.