17. Passo Pordoi, looking to Sassolungo and Sass Becce


17 Passo PordoiP1070246

I had initially thought this shot to have been taken from approximately the same spot as Photo14, but looking 180 degrees in the other direction. However, when I got there, I was mistaken. It was actually taken not far away as the crow flies, but much higher up, on the nameless slopes leading to the Sass de Ciapel, close to 2,500 metres. Finding something approximating to the exact spot took a lot of foraging across the hillside. I think it is a really elegant viewpoint, but Zardini does not use this view at all in either version I have of the guide for the Road heading in a westerly direction, from Cortina to Bolzano.

New to the scene since the Zardini photograph is the Rifugio Sass Beccei, on the far left of shot, sitting at 2,400m to serve the needs of skiers. This intrusion to the view is actually closed for much of the rest of the year. Mostly out of shot behind the grassy section of the ridge, the area now “boasts” three mountain huts, seven chairlifts, plus many snow canon to create artificial snow, as the slopes are gradually given over to skiing. One hopes that visitors in winter will remember that the area immediately below the Sass Becce itself saw big loss of life in an avalanche on 14 December 1937, as this plaque beside the footpath attests. The Sass Becce might be a striking lump, but its rock is notoriously loose:

P1070201

Ghedina postcards also added this very similar shot to Zardini’s, from about the same viewpoint, to their 1940s collection:

Pordoi Card 17001


My collection of postcards includes this view looking up the Pass towards the Sass Becce from above Arabba. The postcard carries a handwritten date showing it was posted in August 1947:

Pordoi from Arabba003

And this, probably from the same sequence of Ghedina postcards, judging by the catalogue number, carries a July 1948 postcard:

Pordoi from Arabba001


All three cards carry similar reference numbers, you’ll see. They are great examples of how The Road stood out from its surroundings before being paved.

My favourite postcard view of all from this area is this one, which carries on the reverse no information at all. I do not even know which company produced it:

Pordoi looking west


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