A sanctuary made of tree trunks, leaves and branches in the Bergamasque Alps
In the province of Bergamo, in the heart of the Bergamasque Alps, nature becomes art. In Oltre il Colle, a remarkable work of art has been created on a sheltered knoll along the ascent to the summit of Pizzo Arera: a monumental tree cathedral.
Based on an idea by Lodi-born artist Giuliano Mauri, this over-twenty-metre-tall structure has a Gothic-style layout. It has five aisles and 42 columns of beech trees supported by an elegant framework of 1,800 fir tree poles, 600 chestnut branches and 6,000 metres of hazel branches. The materials were gathered in the surrounding forests and woven together using ropes, pegs, nails and flexible wood. In 20 years, the beech trees are expected to no longer need the wooden framework now supporting them and that will eventually rot away.
Dotted around this cathedral is a constellation of small mountain villages nestled in the picturesque landscape of the Bergamasque Alps.
You can reach Oltre il Colle from Bergamo in 40 minutes by car or an hour and a quarter by bus. From here, you can set off to explore the trails and mountain huts in the area. If you choose to hike on Pizzo Arera, you can admire views of the peaks of Monte Aben and the valleys at your feet.