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Dino Buzzati wrote in the 1958 edition of the magazine Le Vie d’Italia: “If there were just 100 men like Mazzotti in Italy, our artistic heritage and natural wonders would have nothing more to fear”. This was one of the expressions that inspired the Giuseppe Mazzotti Literary Prize Association to adopt its current president’s proposal to promote a new project, “MAZZOTTI CONTEMPORANEO”, whose aim is to bring to the fore people and subjects that are worthy spiritual heirs of Mazzotti, distinguished for their studies, research, discoveries, events and initiatives for the protection of the environment in Italy and worldwide. The project was enthusiastically shared by representatives of the Fondo per l’Ambiente Italiano (F.A.I.), Touring Club Italiano (T.C.I.) and Club Alpino Italiano (C.A.I.), three prestigious clubs with long traditions that participate and actively cooperate in its promotion and implementation.


People and communities, representatives of public or private institutions, foundations, associations, committees and groups are the ‘solitary climbers’ who explore new routes that will provide a regenerating intake of fresh air and signpost different, innovative itineraries, opened up or yet to explore, to lead the way to a society that adopts sustainable development, as Giuseppe Mazzotti wished. Such routes show us that we can make peace with the idea of growth, to be seen as growth in opportunities and pleasure, looking at beauty in all its expressions… “ecology of desires rather than ecology of duties”. These are the recipients of the MAZZOTTI CONTEMPORANEO Prize, “The Environment’s Lamplighter”: in dark times for the fate of our planet the lamplighter, who carries over his shoulder a long stick holding the flame used to light gas lamps, with the flame behind him, does not see much light before him but can illuminate the way for travellers to safely walk the unknown streets towards salvation.



The first of the important “MAZZOTTI CONTEMPORANEO” meetings was titled “LET’S START TAKING THE ENVIRONMENT SERIOUSLY”, paraphrasing Giuseppe Mazzotti’s famous book Making Fun of the Mountains (La montagna presa in giro) in which the author mocked and poked fun at the situation in order to denounce behaviour and decisions that exploited and offended the mountains and did not respect the environment and its culture. The conference theme was “Global Warming Potential”, the most urgent of the challenges facing humanity today. It involved documents, studies and ongoing research, and strategies awaiting a serious global and local climate policy that can effectively make a difference to our lifestyles and develop new models of growth that will ensure life with a prosperous future. Not by chance was Asiago chosen as the venue for this first edition of the Progetto Mazzotti Contemporaneo: it was a way of paying homage to two illustrious figures who hailed from there, Mario Rigoni Stern, poet and author, and Ermanno Olmi, film director, authentic poets of nature and its harmonious rapport with humanity, both with strong ties to our Prize and both committed to safeguarding the planet. However, today the Asiago Plateau, badly hit by the ‘Vaia’ gale of October 2018, is an emblem of the devastation to which we are exposed due to global climate change in our times and therefore a highly appropriate venue in which to deal with this theme. We are truly grateful to the Mario Rigoni Stern Prize organisation, which took part in supporting the event, and the Asiago Municipality that granted its patronage and placed the Teatro Millepini at our disposal for the conference.


“Terra Ultima Chiamata” (Final Call for the Earth) is the title of the collected papers presented by Italian and international experts at the conference “Let’s Take the Environment Seriously”, held at Asiago in September 2019. The volume is published by Antiga Edizioni and edited by journalist and writer Salvatore Giannella.