The Messner Mountain Museum (MMM) Corones, designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, opened a few months ago. It is the sixth Mountain Museum by Italy’s most famous mountaineer and explorer, Reinhold Messner.
The six structures in the Alpine circuit, spread between South Tyrol and the province of Belluno, have gained increasing success with visitors eager to discover the world of mountains – and perhaps find themselves along the road.
In one of his books, Messner tells the story of his first Alpine climb – when he was five years old, with his father – to the top of Sass Rigais, a mountain in the Dolomitic Odle group:
“Suddenly, we saw it: ‘There is the summit’, my father confirmed. A jagged crest was between the top and us. On the right, the steep wall went down to a valley crossed by a brook; on the left, it fell so vertical and deep that I did not dear look down.”
“One of the men who were coming down and helped me get past the crest said, ‘Very exposed’. It was the first time I heard the expression, but I understood immediately. Sitting on the summit, we saw a few climbers who had arrived from the East side. They shook our hand, as if we had arrived at a well-prepared party. We enjoyed the solemn moment together” (translated from R. Messner, “La libertà di andare dove voglio”, Corbaccio, Milan 2013).
Climbing around here can bring you to an unexpected party, like young Messner so many years ago. But is can also be the start of a great adventure, chasing after fascinating secrets beyond anyone’s imagination.
Why not? It’s exactly what happened to American poet Ezra Pound, who described Plan de Corones as the Pillars of Hercules of his childhood.