Although we live in a neighboring province with its own beautiful forests and mountains, the Bergamasc Alps is beginning to feel like a home away from home with each successive visit. Individual communities stage a number of local events so it was a special morning in Plassa (fraction of Oltre il Colle) this past Saturday when we were present for the inauguration of the Cattedrale Vegetale, a “green” cathedral that was created as an expression of land art.

Begun in 2008 by italian artist Giuliano Mauri, the cathedral encompasses a total of 5 naves and 42 columns. Constructed with fir timber and branches of chestnut and hazelnut, each column contains a young beech tree that will eventually take the place of its natural “cage” when time and the elements have eroded the structure away. To my surprise I discovered that this is not the only living cathedral that Mauri has done. In the hamlet of Valsugana, Trento, his craftsmanship is already displaying leafy growth.

Event organizers had a wealth of info on footpaths within the surrounding area so I see this as just the beginning for a push toward ecotourism. This (maniola jurtina – Meadow Brown) played a small but important role in a ‘Today I fly’ butterfly release. It’s one of the species found in the Sentiero delle Farfalle or Trail of the Butterflies.

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