During Spring Break I had the chance to do what Italians call “Settimana Bianca” (ski trip). Even though the name sounds quite odd, literally translated as “White Week”, experiencing Italy under the snow can turn out to be a pleasant and unexpected experience. When we think of Italy, the common imagery is sunny hills, historic cities, coastlines, and art. But the boot peninsula also holds beautiful snowy landscapes, such as the Alps and the Apennines.
I went on the Dolomites, a mountain range located in northeastern Italy that is part of the well-known Alps and goes through the regions of Veneto and Trentino. In that area the locals speak Ladino, a language that is very different from Italian, and is only spoken there. While I was there I skied and saw extremely beautiful landscapes every day. Unfortunately there wasn’t much snow this year, so the town I was staying in, San Cassiano, had little to no snow. But as we went up on the mountains to ski, the landscapes got whiter, colder, and windier.
One of the most beautiful places I had the chance to ski through was “Il Giro Della Grande Guerra.” This location was part of the Italian border trenches during the 1st World War. On those extremely high and cold peaks, soldiers had to stay for weeks. The mountains in that area still have the holes in which the soldiers would hide, unhealed wounds of a past that doesn’t feel that far behind.
During the trip I also saw beautiful frozen waterfalls, skied while being pulled by a horse carriage, ate a lot of polenta, and got a bruise on my butt for trying to snowboard. Dolomites are a very rich place, filled with beauty and history, and I would definitely recommend anyone to go visit that unexpected corner of Italy, that is not part of the stereotypical Italian imagery, but is definitely part of my heart.
“I’m Irene Piazza. I was born and grew up in Italy, where my family still lives. Now I live and study media arts in Richmond, VA. I make many types of art, such as videos, animations, collages, paintings, and installations.”