24 HOURS OF PINZOLO: THE EXHIBIT
NEVER FORGOTTEN AND STILL DEAR TO THE HEARTS OF MANY, THE 24 HOURS OF PINZOLO IS THE INTERNATIONAL CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING RELAY RACE THAT WAS HELD IN THE HEART OF VAL RENDENA FROM 1980 TO 1990, WHICH IS NOW THE FOCUS OF A PERMANENT EXHIBIT.
Throughout the 1980s, there was an international event here in Val Rendena, the “24 Hours of Pinzolo”, that was hotly anticipated each year and would draw a great mass of people to the area. Nearly every nation where cross-country skiing is enjoyed was represented on the course, as hundreds of volunteers oversaw the organizational aspects and thousands of sports enthusiasts would cheer on the relay teams and other brave souls racing on their own. The race was held from 1980 to 1990 with great local pride and with the help and encouragement of the local community and remains an event without peers. For an entire decade, the 24 Hours of Pinzolo set the standard for winter events here in the Brenta Dolomites.
THE EVENTThis 24-hour international cross-country relay race was the brainchild of Mauro Mancina, Ugo Caola, Diego Leoni, Antonio Masè, Ezio Binelli and Aldo Ongari (who would then go on to serve as the organization’s president), six friends who saw the event not only as an opportunity to hold an innovative type of event, but also as a chance to give the area greater visibility to the world by attracting athletes from various countries and thereby promoting Pinzolo and Val Rendena beyond Italy’s borders.
THE EXHIBITNow, the story of the 24 Hours of Pinzolo is being told in an exhibit at Pinzolo’s Casa della Cultura e del Sociale in a dedicated space on the top floor, which was given the name Sala 24h Pinzolo (“24 Hours of Pinzolo Hall”) on June 9, 2017, the date on which the exhibit was inaugurated. Visitors will find a wide range of materials on display, including videos, photos, press releases, newspaper articles, documents, clothing, accessories, plaques, and medals, all of which has been meticulously catalogued for an archive that will remain available to the public for future research and studies.
THE IDEA AND THE GROUPOne day, when Roberto Caola was perusing the archives of his father, Ugo, he found boxes and binders packed full of documents and artifacts, and a whole world open up before him as he put together the pieces of a story that was waiting to be told. “I knew there was a lot,” Roberto said, “but I had no idea just how much. It took me a year just to look through and sort it all. Putting those memories back together took a long, long time and the efforts of the group that formed around this initiative.”
In the beginning, the group notes, the exhibit was just a rough idea, but then it gradually developed into an actual project executed with the help of a great many people, all united to bring back a bit of history of their community. Featuring original materials from those years, the exhibit looks back at the enthusiasm generated by the event right from the start. The older generations will surely have fond memories of the event, and now young people will also have the opportunity to learn the story.
Much like the 24 Hours of Pinzolo came out of the efforts of many, and of volunteers first and foremost, this exhibit has also come about thanks to the work of a group of volunteers (Maria Cristina Bianchi, Marco Bonomini, Roberto Caola, Sonia Capponi, Benedetta Dallavalle, Elisa Gargioni, Patrick Savinelli and Luca Vidi) and the collaboration of the City of Pinzolo, which provided the exhibition space and some of the work that needed to be done, such as the display cases created by Rino Caola, and the support of the Madonna di Campiglio Pinzolo Val Rendena Tourist Association.
The 24 Hours of Pinzolo is now a story that can be enjoyed for the first time by the young or enjoyed again by those who experienced it first as organizers, volunteers, athletes, or just enthusiastic spectators, in a thrilling journey back in time that gives an important piece of history back to the community.
This permanent exhibit is open to the public, every day from 10 am to 6 pm, till September 8.