Where to start? Taking photos first or observing them?
That’s a complex choice: it is between the pictures on stage at the Pangea Photo Festival in Castelnovo ne’ Monti and the ones (to be taken) of the Pietra di Bismantova, with its Dante’s suggestions, as this 2021 is dedicated to the author of the Divine Comedy.
We would suggest a path gradually leading to this area of the Reggio Emilia Apennines. The first step (and stop) features illustrated stories on current issues, related to our future, from climate change to migration, from conflicts to the relationship between humans and nature and between man and power.
Next to the photographic exhibitions Human Nature // Frontcountry by Lucas Foglia, the first one on the complex man-environment interactions, the second one on the present social transformations in the American West because of an expanding extractive industry, and the project by the NOOR Agency, Occupied Pleasures by Tanya Habjouqa, dealing with the daily life in the Palestinian Territories, the outdoor exhibitions are all to see.
While discovering the Castelnovo’s medieval centre, its Palazzo Ducale, the wash-house and Piazza delle Armi, you come across Future Studies by Luca Locatelli, who won the 1st Prize for Environment Story in 2020 Word Press Photo Contest, dealing with innovative agricultural practices to reduce the problem of world hunger (in Corte Campanini).
Sometimes I cannot smile, a journey into the world of Greenland’s youth, by Piergiorgio Casotti and the Fulani photojournalistic investigation by Michele Cattani, portraying the complex Malian society, are on display in other locations.
The Pietra di Bismantova is the stage for the Italian premiere of Arctic New Frontier by Khadir Van Lohuizen and Yuri Kozirev (in collaboration with NOOR and Fondation Carmignac), with images recording the 15 thousand kilometres travelled by the photographers to tell about climate change in the Arctic Circle: the photos are exhibited on the walls from piazzale Dante to the Benedictine monastery, nestled in the rock at the foot of the Pietra.
DANTE, THE DIVINE COMEDY AND THE PURGATORY
The Pietra di Bismantova, which stands out like an island, with rugged and rocky sides and a flat top, is the second destination of this photo trip.
Kind of magical mountain in the Reggiano Apennines, it is said it inspired Dante for his Purgatory. What is sure is that it is mentioned in the Canto IV, to describe the harshness of the ascent: «Vassi in Sanleo e discendesi in Noli, montasi su in Bismantova e ’n Cacume con esso i piè; ma qui convien ch’om voli» (i.e. the slope is so steep that feet are not enough. Here the wings of desire are needed to fly).
If it made such an impression on Dante, who probably was there in 1306, it can really be an interesting subject to be framed in photographs.
Its unmistakable profile can be shot from a distance. Or you may engage uphill thanks to trails with different difficulty degrees, from the easiest, to be covered on foot or on horseback, to the most challenging mountain trails, including a via ferrata.
As a symbol of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennine National Park, the Pietra di Bismantova is also one of the most interesting climbing walls in Emilia Romagna. From its top, the view opens up to the Alps.
PANGEA PHOTO FESTIVAL
Until June 27, 2021 in Castelnovo ne’ Monti (RE)
The event is conceived and organized by a group of young inhabitants of the Appennino Reggiano, with the Municipality of Castelnovo ne’ Monti, A.S.C. Teatro Appennino and the involvement of various associations.
The project is funded by the Shaping Fair Cities call of the Emilia Romagna Region, for the dissemination of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.
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