I PAESAGGI DELLE ALPI
A journey in the high lands through philosophy, nature and history

Annibale Salsa

Donzelli Editore
2019

 

The Book

Through Salsa’s lens the alpine landscape goes from being seen to being experienced, making it a vital space. The landscapes in the Alps are the result of continuous interaction over time between humans and the mountains: human activities leave traces, which become signs, symbols, and stratified testimony to stories and events. In other words, it is human beings that «make the landscape» and in it we can perceive the hybridisation of nature and culture. To understand alpine landscapes, we need to trace back their genesis by identifying the factors and events that have affected their construction. At the same time, we also need to examine the individual and collective processes involved in creating the sense behind the choice of living in such places. Keeping these two perspectives in mind, we can understand how responsible practices that make careful use of resources, are conscious of the value of restrictions, and are founded on a sense of belonging and participation constitute the only way to transform such a fragile area without destroying it, so that those who live there can continue to do so.

 

The Author

Annibale Salsa, anthropologist and expert in all aspects of the Alps, taught Philosophical and Cultural Anthropology at Genoa University, and is past president of the Italian Mountaineering Club (CAI), as well as president of the Population and Culture Work Group for the Alpine Convention.
He writes articles and essays in scientific journals dealing with the anthropology of mountain tourism, in particular in the Alps.

 

Motivation:

An essay that takes one essential step forward for those who wish to continue working towards divulging knowledge about the mountains and caring about them. It is first and foremost a vast fresco of the history of ideas, in which the world of the Alps, which are the quintessence of the mountain universe, is examined over time through different eyes and with a variety of human perceptions: a land of fatigue and fear for the mountain dweller; a sublime spectacle for city folk; a war zone for the soldier; an arts and crafts workshop for those skilled in building a range of wonderfully adaptive forms; above all, and here the author’s and the jury’s heart rate quickens, an amazing anthology of experiences of the long-lasting regulations still extant over the entire alpine range, with which the communities there exercise “another way of possessing” common goods and natural space and culture that are neither private nor belong to the public domain, and which cannot be sold or acquired by squatters’ rights, or change their destination of use. They therefore guarantee the persistence of the widespread legacy of agricultural land, pastures and woods on which are based the first small but utterly important signs of a “return to the high lands”.

 

UN’ETICA DELLA TERRA MADRE
How to take care of our common home

Leonardo Boff

Castelvecchi Editore
2019

 

The Book

The relationship between human beings and the Earth has exceeded a systemic limit: natural resources are not infinite, and we cannot suppose progress is infinite. Humanity must now face a global question of ethical rather than scientific values. For this reason, the development of Earth ethics is now urgent so that we can reinstate the vitality stripped from our common Mother by our behaviour. However, such ethics will not be possible without profound spirituality that revives in us a serious commitment of love, responsibility and care for our common home.
In this volume Leonardo Boff develops an “eco-theology of liberation” based on a new rapport between humanity and nature that encapsulates respect and no longer dominion.

 

The Author

Leonardo Boff, born at Concórdia in 1938, is a Brazilian philosopher and theologist. Formerly a Franciscan brother, he is an activist for human rights and member of the committe that drew up the Earth Charter.
He often entered into conflict with the ecclesiastical heirarchy during his battles for the forgotten on this earth, being one of the most important exponents of liberation theology. His books have been translated throughout the world.

 

Motivation:

Global warming, planetary pollution, economic exploitation… Nowadays, as never before, our planet is on the brink of disappearing, due to a model of economics and development no longer sustainable for environmental equilibrium. Leonardo Boff’s book offers theological reflection in an attempt to indicate a new rapport between humanity and nature, where respect and no longer dominion is the core element. An important appeal for a serious commitment to love, responsibility and care for the Earth, our common home.

 

FLOWER POWER
Plants and their Rights

Alessandra Viola

Giulio Einaudi Editore
2020

 

The Book

Do plants have rights? If so, which ones, and what does acknowledging them involve?
Attributing rights to subjects that do not have them has always been an extravagant idea, and yet we must not forget that black people, women and children once had none, and in our times this also seems unthinkable.
Over the centuries humans have extended rights as a form of reparation for injustices and harm suffered during wars or revolutions. We refer to human wars, but we also fight against a silent, peaceful population on which our survival depends and which, notwithstanding, we have decimated and pushed thousands of species towards extinction: this is the plant population, the biggest on the planet Earth (plants make up approximately 96% of all living things).
Entering an agreement into “peace with the environment” has become essential to solving global problems such as famine, mass migration, desertification, pollution and climate change. We have reached the point where it’s time to reflect on a ‘Universal Declaration of Plant Rights’ that will acknowledge the rights of our ‘green sisters’, thereby guaranteeing ours.

 

The Author

Alessandra Viola, is a science journalist, writing for several newspapers, magazines and television programmes, for which she is a screenwriter and documentary maker. In 2007 she was awarded a Harvard scholarship for the best scientific article of the year.

 

Motivation:

When a plant no longer bears fruit, cut it down”: for centuries this popular conviction steered our negative relationship with the vegetal world. We live in a short-sighted society that often worries about frivolous things but not about indiscriminate soil consumption, gambling everything on unsustainable development and never stopping to ask how we would live without plants; sensitive, intelligent living beings that our lives depend on in a way we still do not fully understand. A first step towards re-found harmony with the vegetal world would be to acknowledge the rights it deserves. This would have been unthinkable not so long ago, but such acknowledgement is encouraged in Flower Power, plants and their rights, a delightful, well-structured book in which Alessandra Viola takes us on a fascinating journey full of anecdotes and stories through which to discover that silent, peaceful population, unknown to most and widely decimated, and become passionate fans of its defence and denied rights.
After learning about history and economics, physiology and pharmaceutical science, medicine and philosophy, readers will observe with respect not only the Amazon mutilated by fires and deforestation, but also the flower beds in our own gardens or the nettles growing happily along the side of the road.

 

NEL CASTELLO DELLE STORIE.
Mountains, glaciers, forests, from now to 1778

Marco Albino Ferrari

Ulrico Hoepli Editore
2019

 

 

The Book

High above the valley, clinging to the rocks overlooking Sondrio, stands an ancient manor with walls an armslength thick. This is Castel Masegra, now the HQ of the Cast museum, the ‘Castle of Mountain Tales’. The itinerary through the rooms – curated by the author of this book – leads us to learn about and share an amazing, emblematic world by narrating the true stories of twelve different events. The protagonists are hikers and climbers whose adventures led them to new discoveries, each of which reveals the special climate that generated them, because people have observed mountains in different ways at different times, inventing and re-inventing them under the influence of history’s diverse cultural contexts.
Twelve chapters tell of so many human endeavours, going back in time to the wonder that started it all. Each chapter includes an introduction to the period involved and describes an endeavour that was important in the cultural context of the time: the leitmotif is the relationship between humans and nature throughout the history of mountaineering.
The book ends with a novel universal chronology of mountaineering, a valuable tool for consultation.

 

The Author

Marco Albino Ferrari, well-known in the cultural environment of mountaineering, is a writer, screenwriter and journalist. His works have been published by the major Italian publishers, and he has been awarded a number of literary prizes. Besides currently writing for the newspaper ‘La Stampa’, he is the curator of the Cast museum housed in Castello Masegra, Sondrio.

 

Motivation:

The book is both scientifically rigorous and an exciting read, reconstructing twelve feats in the mountains of the world, going back from our times to the 18th century. It is a series of stories that a romantic historian such as Giuseppe Mazzotti would have loved to have read. The idea for the book arose out of Castel Masegra, overlooking Sondrio and nowadays the seat of the Castle of Mountain Tales, where the author has curated an itinerary that takes the visitor into a dreamlike vision of the mountaineering world. The stories and their protagonists are described in these pages through culturally amazing and emblematic events that actually took place. The characters are hikers, climbers and explorers, as well as humble mountain folk, shepherds and poachers, and their stories confirm that mountaineering has a rightful place in our cultural history. At the end of the book is a novel tool for consultation: a universal chronology of mountaineering.

 

 

TIPOTECA
An Italian Story

Silvio Antiga (editor)

Antiga Edizioni
2019

 

The Book

In his preface to this work, Lucio Passerini states: “A good book is a milestone, a point of reference in space and time. And those who print books every day and know the trade well, are conscious that a book is naturally the most appropriate instrument for fixing a story onto paper”.
Grafica Antiga’s celebration of its first fifty years in business offered a valid pretext for creating a work full of images and contents that retraces not just the story of a museum, but above all spotlights material and documents of outstanding value. The book is a journey through printing, masterfully using paper and techniques that give ‘character’ to books printed in the digital era, particularly the three inserts impression printed with historic type from the Tipoteca archives.
Designed by London graphic artist Simon Esterton, with images by photographer Claudio Rocci and texts by Italian and foreign experts, written in Italian and English, this book pays homage to the beauty of books and printing, concentrating particularly on typefaces and printing presses, a historic heritage salvaged by Tipoteca and placed in a museum where visitors are welcome.

 

The Author

Silvio Antiga, the creator and editor of the book, started as an apprentice with a local printer, going on to work in the pre-printing shop of a large Treviso company. In 1960, he and his brothers Franco, Mario and Carlo founded the company Grafiche Antiga at Crocetta del Montello, in the province of Treviso. In 1995, at Cornuda, they set up the Tipoteca Italiana, a private foundation whose purpose is to preserve and divulge the Italian printing heritage, now considered the most important, internationally renowned musuem in Italy dedicated to the story of printing and typeface design.

 

Motivation:

The jury found many reasons to assign the prize to this book: because its pages teach and at the same time excite the reader with tales of an Italian success story, a Veneto family and the art of printing, and the members of the jury are convinced that quality stories will save printing and add cultural value to a materialistically prosperous land. Because the book is framed in pure beauty, where creative ingenuity goes hand in hand with editorial technique and people’s lives intertwine with the journey of typeface from the sixteenth century to our times. Because this fascinating work is the result of team work, of many authors, guided by Silvio Antiga and his brothers, who ‘know’ printing, have lived and grown up with it, and in the end have created a museum and cultural centre frequented by passionate fans and scholars from all over the world, who come to see the origins of the art of printing, communications and design. The award of the Gambrinus Giuseppe Mazzotti Literary Prize is our acknowledgement of a book that is real literature, based on words and images, in pages that transmit the scent of ink, the heat of casting iron and the noise of ever more powerful machines: it is the apex of a true craft.