SILVER PLAQUE PINZOLO INTERNATIONAL ALPINE SOLIDARITY AWARD

It's not just certain flowers that are native to mountains. There are native values too and together they make up the mountains' distinctive, inimitable DNA. One of these values, solidarity is congenital to the mountain environment and to the people who are born there and decide to live out their lives there.
The relationship between the values and the environment is instinctive. Sometimes life in the mountains brings difficult times and people have to give themselves over to them. That's when we realise our human limitations and inadequacy in the face of a challenge we cannot be overcome alone.
The spirit of solidarity surfaces and is renewed every day to deal with the inevitable fact that human nature is nothing compared to the immensity of a rich but implacable environment.
That's the truth that everyone who lives and works in the mountains has to cope with on a daily basis, but it is also true for those who come from far away to challenge the environment that attracts and fascinates them, armed only with their own strength of mind and, perhaps, an ice axe or a pair of skis.
When these visitors need help, mountain solidarity appears in the form of other people who rush to help a lone outsider who has dared to go too far or has made too many mistakes.
For 36 years, Pinzolo has acknowledged this fact in a festival that honours the value of solidarity and the heroes from all over the world who have upheld it during the year.
The event doesn't just celebrate the spectacular act of solidarity shown on a particular day, but also the importance of those who, by years of humble, unsung service, have ensured the continued growth and reinforcement of a mountain tradition - particularly the tradition in the Trentino mountains - that is envied by many elsewhere.
It's not by chance that Pinzolo is the venue for this event.
Alpine solidarity here has deep roots and a long-standing history written by hundreds of men who have taken part in mountain rescues, by generations of volunteers who, at every hour of the day and night, have set off to help those in need, no matter what the conditions and without once giving a thought to the price of their own tiredness or the risk involved.
I would like to add my personal praise from many years ago when I was a journalist on Trento's daily paper, the “Adige”. In those days, when I worked on the news desk, I was informed dozens of times about emergency calls from the Pinzolo area to help a tourist stuck halfway up the Brenta. My painstaking colleague Eugenio Ferrari used to list the names of the rescue teams and they always seemed to be the same ones. In one way, they were, because later I realised that the names were those of generations of families who passed on the tradition: the Binellis, the Brutis, the Ferraris, the Masés…
So, solidarity runs in families and that's why it's a value that is universal and everlasting. Time and place cannot wear it down.
And this tradition too is an important way of adding value and upholding the spirit of solidarity, because it transforms personal commitment into a feeling that is shared and a strong image that has and will always symbolise the nature and history of a people.