Italy

The Silence of the Mountains

Nature reconquered

The mountain in winter was not made for men and was best left in peace
(Paolo Cognetti, The Eight Mountains)

The pandemic has exaggerated all the contemporary contrasts mountains feed off, turning everyday life upside down. The silence of newly desolate places normally used to crowds of skiers. Nature we should re-appropriate even though it has been anthropized and covered in cement for tourist purposes. An economy that has been dramatically put on hold, but that is also allowing the rediscovered magic of these places to breathe.

The drop in numbers out on the ski slopes has had a significant negative impact on alpine tourism and the economy. Last season in Italy, this segment attracted over four million people to mountain areas in the month of December alone. It generates revenues of between 10 and 12 billion euro as well as providing work for around 120,000 people. This year, however, it collapsed by 70%.

The journey made by five young photographers across the peaks that played host to the 20th Winter Olympics in Piedmonte (Sestriere, Bardonecchia, Sauze d’Oulx) and the better known Valle d’Aosta (Pila, Cervinia) reveals that in this pandemic era of ours, the mountains are living a double life laden with meaning: it’s a tale of closed ski lifts and empty hotels, devoid of Italian and foreign tourists alike, but also of new opportunity for enthusiasts to devote themselves to alpine or cross country skiing or snowshoeing, to get back to the roots of the relationship between sport and snow-capped peaks.