7. Torri di Vajolet


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I remain surprised at the inclusion of the view of the Vajolet Towers from the west in the Zardini collection. The same photo is used in both editions of the guides. They sit at close to 2,700 metres, tucked away on the long Catinaccio mountain ridge. Moreover, they are all but invisible from the Great Dolomite Road, and are dwarfed by bigger mountains on every side. My shot is a cropped section of a photo I took some time ago. I found I had to stretch the verticals in it to come even close to how Zardini had made the Towers look. Artistic licence being taken many years before Photoshop etc!

Many of the first ascents of rock climbs on the three Towers (they are named the Winkler, Stabeler and Delago towers) were made not long before the first World War, and would therefore have been recent endeavours of great note when Zardini was active in the area. This may have been linked to their inclusion in the collection. The view has always been a postcard favourite. It is still a view used on big advertising hoardings today:

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Today, the Towers have become popular rock climbs, but they are usually reached from the east (Gardeccia) side. Sadly, low cloud and the end of season cessation of a crucial chairlift prevented my own visit to the Passo Vajolet, from which the Zardini photo was taken, in both 2011 and 2013.

It is at this point in one of the two booklets I have covering the Road heading towards Bolzano, Zardini includes a photograph of the small town of Vigo di Fassa. This shot is not in the other Cortina to Bolzano booklet, nor in the Bolzano to Cortina booklet at all:

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Zardini’s photograph is very similar in view and likely date to this postcard view from the 1920s:

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Vigo sits at the foot of the Costalunga Pass. It was my base for a lot of the 2011 fieldwork for this web site, but at that time I was unaware of the existence of the Cortina to Bolzano edition of Zardini’s guide, and did not take any photo to compare to the one above. However, in 2013, when I tried to establish the viewpoint for either of the two shots above, the extent to which Vigo, its hotels and its roads, had expanded became very evident, and I failed to find a satisfactory viewpoint. Another time, perhaps.

I like this old, hand-coloured postcard view, taken on the descent to Vigo. The state of the road suggests it predates construction of the Great Dolomite Road itself:

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This 1930s postcard of the Road at Moena, not far from Vigo di Fassa, may not be the most scenic view ever taken, but it shows very well the condition of the road before it was paved:

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