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Dino Buzzati and his mountains

Dino Buzzati And His Mountains

"There are valleys where we live that I have never seen anywhere else." If you are looking for authentic mountainsides, you will love Dino Buzzati. If you want to discover the intimate, hidden side of the Dolomites in Belluno, in his books you will find that soul you seek.

Dino Buzzati was a great writer and journalist, but also a painter, poet and loved spending time on the mountains. Born in San Pellegrino di Belluno in 1906, he spent most of his life here. He always had an intense connection with "his" mountains, a source of continual inspiration, so much so that he is considered one of the greatest narrative interpreters of the mountain.

Panorama Dolomiti Bellunesi   Campanella Nicola
Tre Cime di Lavaredo - Inverno | © Nicola Bombassei

“I cross the lawn in front of the house, and when I get to the end, I turn around. That is when I see the Schiara, the mountain of my life”.

Those same peaks he gazed at as a child and climbed or contemplated as an adult became the essence of his art. His descriptions of the Dolomites, explicit or evoked, have become immortal pages of Italian literature and not only that: his works have been translated into 34 languages.

A timeless, "spectacular, majestic, threatening" mountain that becomes something else: a place of challenge and conquest, a metaphor of human life. Universal sensations that all mountaineers feel in the presence of breathtaking, awe-inspiring sights earned in solitude amid silence and fatigue. That simultaneous sense of immensely large and immensely small can only be experienced in full at the summit. Buzzati was able to turn those emotions into words, a dry and sincere narrative that concedes nothing superfluous.

Geographical locations are an integral part of his inner world, and they become fantastic and mysterious, as realistic magical was Buzzati’s style (Dove Viaggi, 2022).

You can start by reading his books and then come to find the places, or you can do it the other way round: from destinations you have already visited you can read his books and gain deeper knowledge.
Looking for the Dolomites in Belluno in his books, you can find unique, dry, dreamlike descriptions. Imagining space in that dilated time that continues to exist only on mountainsides. Recommended reading: Bàrnabo of the Mountains (1933), The Secret of the Old Woods, (1935), and his masterpiece, The Tartar Steppe (1940).

Ivan Cagnati LO SPECCHIO DEL PELMO Lago Delle Baste | © ivan cagnati

Instead, if you are looking for Dino Buzzati in these valleys, you can come up with your own itinerary on mountainsides among fairy tales and culture. From the house where he was born, just outside Belluno under the imposing shadow of the Schiara, to the Buzzati Trail, eight kilometres from Giaon di Limana to Valmorel, a place of legends and traces of devotion that inspired the book “The Miracles of Val Morel"; from Monte Civetta described as “the grandest wall of the Dolomites”, in Feltre and Valbelluna, centre of many cultural events dedicated to him; from the Somadida Oriented Nature Reserve, in the footsteps of the book and film  The Secret of the Old Woods, at Croda Da Lago, site of his last climb.

Read Buzzati before or after seeing the Dolomites in Belluno to discover and understand them in depth. A spectacular area like few others in the world but, fortunately, still authentic, off the most well-known and overused itineraries.
As the author himself wrote in his book My Belluno:

"if I say that my land is one of the most beautiful places not in Italy but in the entire globe, everyone falls from the clouds and stares at me with amused curiosity. My homeland, in fact, is called Belluno, and although it is a provincial capital, I have realised for decades that almost no one but the people of Belluno know where it is."

  • The Dino Buzzati International Association, and its Study Centre, promote the study and dissemination of the work of Dino Buzzati. It includes members spread over five continents and a national group in France. 
  • Valleys never seen...this second Venice: that strange landscape Buzzati has in his soul. This is the evocative title of the photo exhibition held in 2016 to mark the 110th anniversary of his birth. A visual presentation of Buzzati’s hidden geography, it was a further demonstration of his connection with his places, an indispensable narrative legend for understanding his works.
  • Not everyone is familiar with the complete artist Buzzati: the continuous cross-reference between words and images is his hallmark "I am a painter who, as a hobby, during an unfortunately rather prolonged period, has also been a writer and journalist. Since for me painting and writing are basically the same thing. Whether I paint or write, I pursue the same goal, which is to tell stories." 
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