This post is also available in: Italian

Imagine a mountain village with the following characteristics: not touristy, small enough but well organized. A dream.

Danta di Cadore is such a village, summed up in about 500 inhabitants, a church, a school, a shop that sells everything, a bar and a hotel where you can taste the best pizza I have ever tasted.

Many mountain resorts struggle against depopulation and the difficulties of living in a place where nature conditions people’s lives and makes certain activities complex, such as attending high school or university for young people.

For many, reaching their workplace means crossing a mountain pass every day in all weather conditions, going down from the 1400 meters of altitude of Danta and then going up to the 1600 metres of the Monte Croce Comelico Pass to reach Val Pusteria. The seat of numerous accommodation options and economic activities that employ Cadorini and Comelicesi.

For those who choose to spend their free time there, Danta represents a unique and special experience due to its geographical position.

Lying on a plateau at 1400 meters above sea level, it is immersed in the Comelico forests and from here you can see the peaks of the mountain groups that surround it, including the Brentoni Mountains, Mount Aiarnola (which is the last outpost of the Sesto Dolomites) and the Marmarole with the majestic Antelao.

Finally, you can see the Carnic ridge on the border with Austria with some of its peaks: Mount Cavallino, the Crode del Longerin, Mount Palombino and, in the distance, Mount Peralba from which the Piave river originates.

These mountains are all different each with its own natural environment and with rocks of different colours and shades: dolomites, granite, limestone, sedimentary.

Fir, larch and beech forests with a remarkable biodiversity which include the peat bogs, the humid mountain environments where it is possible to admire the rich flora that characterizes them.

A rich menu for those who want to increase their observation, perhaps with the help of some simple guide books to learn the names and properties of the most common flowers, fruits, trees, healing herbs that are encountered along the way.

Can you distinguish the dandelion flower from the arnica one? They are both roughly a sort of yellow daisy and yet have very different healing properties.

The geographical position of Danta di Cadore and the high altitude allow it to have a greater number of hours of sunshine per day compared to the villages in the valley. A not negligible aspect especially in winter, when the phenomenon of thermal inversion increases the temperature at a higher altitude compared to that at the bottom of the valley.

In Danta it is possible to leave the house and walk for kilometres and kilometres on almost flat paths, to discover the surrounding forests along the paths open for the maintenance of the woods. The woods also host numerous tabiás, a sort of mini wooden huts owned by the families of the village.

Recently during an excursion, we met the kind owner of one of these tabià who proudly showed us this very small space full of all the comforts and nicely furnished.

I asked him why he felt the need to build the tabià a few kilometres from his home in the neighbouring town: it seemed to me a curious redundancy.

He, who had invested all his liquid assets of his working life to build the tabiá, replied:

“For us, the tabiá is like having a boat for living in seaside places. Pure fun in building it with our own hands, decorating it, spending our free time in silence and in nature, hoping to receive the visit of some mountain animal who comes to look around … “.

Does it seem little to you?

Choosing to spend your free time in mountain environments means immersing yourself in unspoiled nature.

But it also means observing habits and customs shaped by the history of the people who lived in the places of the great war: testimonies that are continuously disseminated and cultivated with books, museums, parties, commemorations. Not to forget the past.

The sense of community is very strong and for me it is of constant teaching to observe the social organization of small mountain communities, accustomed to facing difficulties that are not visible or imaginable in the city.

In my personal ranking of the many things I like about Danta, the sunsets and their colours come first.

How to describe the wonder of some scenarios that change suddenly in a few minutes and kidnap the senses with poignant beauty? A testimony of the masterpiece of Creation. Palettes of an unknown and powerful author capable of revealing ever-changing combinations of light, which is impossible to catch in a photo.

While I try to share some of my rudimentary photography exercises, instead you close your eyes for a few moments and think you are there …