Roberto Bassi at the Trento Mountain Festival

Roberto Bassi, like all climbers, used to attend the Mountain Festival, now known as the Trento Film Festival. It was a not-to-be-missed event, because people met friends, planned new climbs and watched films from faraway lands. Today, the meeting dimension remains, while the exclusive images arrive from the web. And it is precisely the dimension of the real encounter that is the real revolution today.

“El Capitan” 1978

Roberto was 17 years old and had approached climbing, immediately showing great talent. He frequented the climbers of Trento, such as Marco Furlani, Giacomelli and those of the Graffer school. And with them he went to see the film that would soon become a cult in its genre, “El Capitan” by Fred Padula. He followed four climbers on The Nose. The breathtaking images introduced the people of Trento to the rock of Yosemite Park, in California. Giovanni Groaz and Palma Baldo left on the wave of enthusiasm. A few months later, Roberto set off on his own, with Furlani, Gigi Giacomelli and Elio Piffer.

Roberto Bassi and friends at the Trento Mountain Festival

The festival creates mountain culture across the board, not just athletic and sporting performances. Roberto also went there to meet friends. Mauro Corona and Andrea Gobetti were also regulars. Andrea, one of the sharpest contemporary writers, would spend entire nights outdoors and Roberto would take him for a coffee. Those were the years when free climbing brought colour to clothing. No longer brown or grey breeches, but brightly coloured knitted socks, purple and acid green T-shirts, fuchsia and yellow. The festival in those years was tinged with colour.

“The dream’ 1985

By now he was a recognised climber and the routes opened with Manolo and Heinz Mariacher were transforming the Sarca Valley. Roberto spoke very little and went to the festival with his silences and long blond hair which stood out. In 1985 he went to the festival as the star of a short film by Nicolodi and Nadali, ‘Il Sogno’. He was climbing and dreaming of flying. The screening in the auditorium was sold out, with 600 people. And many were seated along the steps. At the very long final applause Roberto smiled, in silence. “Il sogno” received the Silver Gentian, the prize for the best video.

“Zanzara e Labbradoro” 2014

Life events went their own way and Roberto’s flight turned into a bad accident in 1994. With Cristina Bassi, his sister, we thought of doing something to bring back some memories 20 years later. The result was the documentary ‘ Zanzara e Labbradoro. ‘. It was welcomed by the festival with two screenings, also sold out. It won “Best Mountaineering Film” at the Nuovi Mondi festival, and a “Special Mention” at the OFF Orobie Film Festival in Bergamo. Now “Zanzara e Labbradoro” is also a book, edited by Versante Sud. And the festival remains a meeting place, where it is hoped to keep alive that mountain culture that feeds on silence, contemplation and beauty.

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Now “Zanzara e Labbradoro” is also a book, edited by Versante Sud. And the festival remains a meeting place, where it is hoped to keep alive that mountain culture that feeds on silence, contemplation and beauty.

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