People come from all over the world to visit Civita di Bagnoregio, an island of golden red tufa, laying upon white clay. Because of heavy hydro-geological erosion, tufa here turns into cleaves and badlands. The phenomenon has transformed the landscape into something reminiscent of a dantean circle, with the earth slowly crumbling, as if consumed by a slow illness.
From the vogue in the lagoon to the peaks of the Eastern Alps. Crossed early in the Veneto region, I reach the province of Belluno entering the heart of Cadore until I cool off with the waters of Lake Misurina (1752 m asl). The call of the Dolomites, World Heritage of Humanity, is more intense than ever. I’m ready. Decided. Inspired. Three special friends are waiting for me. Three fingers of rock.
Their name is famous throughout the world: the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. The departure is in the name of comfort, destination Auronzo Refuge (2320 meters above sea level).
Although the first part of the journey passes through a wooded area, it would still end up on the main access road where cars (after toll) and the more practical Dolomiti Bus pass, on which I choose to sit. The road is all paved. Gradually it becomes steeper. Meet some cow. There is also a sign indicating the possible transit. Go up along wide bends. Imitating the gesture of the logorroic hostess Claire (Kirsten Dunst) of Elizabethtown (2005, by Cameron Crowe) mime with her hands (and sound) the gesture of a photo shoot.
km after leaving the lake shores, I dismount at the foot of the Auronzo
Refuge, belonging to the Cadorina del Cai Section (Italian Alpine
Club), located under the southern walls of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Start the walk. First stop, the Lavaredo refuge (2344 m.). The sky is cool blue. More than a trip, it’s a flat-level walk. Wisps of green grass spit out between the raw rock. Together with them, small yellow spots of “gold buttons” compete with the sun. Step by step, the typical greetings between day trippers multiply.
Before reaching the refuge (a total of about twenty minutes), here is
the small church of the Madonna della Croda built in memory of the 12th
Bersaglieri Battalion. People stop. There are those who are curious.
Who says a prayer. A few meters further on there is a plaque in memory of Paul Grohmann (1838-1908), an Austrian mountaineer who conquered many peaks including the Marmolada, the Queen of the Dolomites, in 1864. Once this is over, here is the Lavaredo, positioned at sheltered from the homonymous fork and built in 1954 by the mountain guide Francesco Corte Colò “Mazzetta”, a pioneer of relief work on the wall in Tre Cime and one of the founders of the Alpine Rescue of Auronzo.
I continue following the indication for the A. Locatelli refuge on the path 101, still a little on the plain. Then attack the climb. The sun beats down. Trekking shoes advance over gravel. It is effort. We proceed slowly without overdoing it. Next up to a sort of small plateau, which reaches the wonder of wonders. Behind me there are the three Alpine sisters most loved by Venetian hikers (and not only).
Three fingers in dolomite facing the sky. They are the Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Drei Zinnen in German), an ancient war front of World War I. The highest is Cima Grande, central (2.999 m). At its side Cima Piccola (2.857 m) and Cima Ovest (2.973 m). Despite being summer, there where the shadow rages without giving confidence to the sun’s rays, the snow resists. A giant slab gives the children an unthinkable and refreshing throwing game of balls.
I continue. There is a small slope, sometimes slippery. The path is still safe. Start an up and down. The landscape is increasingly imposing. My eyes keep turning to look for “those three” and aim at them. Establishing sweetly rarefied dialogues. And they, millennial giants, silent guardians of stories, anecdotes and secrets, respond with enchantment.
I leave a noisy group to overcome me. I see the Locatelli (2450 m) in the distance. Today it can wait. Today he can do without me. I remain alone. Here. Society, hope you’re not lonely without me …