In the shadow of the Brenta massif, mythological stories are still told, tales of distant times and unknown prehistoric landscapes that we can only imagine today, where there was ice instead of valleys and you could reach the mountain peaks without going down nor up the slopes. Only a few men went this far: hunters, migrants, adventurers who ascended the mountains in difficult, harsh conditions, walking on a vast sea of ice or rather, on what was left of it…
It is said that on a particularly cold day a man, while approaching the shore of a lake that no longer exists, met a large and agile Char that seemed to swim as if it were flying. When the man approached the fish he was surprised because it spoke to him, to tell him its incredible story:
the fish was a traveling Char, a prehistoric ghost of the Arctic Char family, a spirit of the cold who wandered in the mountains like man, floating in the icy waters in search of a place to rest. He spoke of his species that had managed to survive the last great marine extinction by being preserved in the ice as living relics. He helped the fish of his kind seek shelter at higher and higher altitudes where the water was colder and clearer.
From then on, the man was often helped by the fish that he found in the icy waters who supported him in hard times. The fish was used to the cold and did not fear winters, while over time men learned to live on the mountain slopes downstream, which were becoming increasingly warm and wide and where the legend of the Salmerino Viandante or Arctic Char remained.
Today the Char still swims in the lakes and streams that descend between the valleys of the Brenta massif and who knows, perhaps some of them have that ancient Arctic Char fish species as an ancestor.
With the rising water temperature of alpine lakes, the fish, due to climate change, is gradually losing its habitat. In San Lorenzo Dorsino, this symbol of prehistoric resilience arrives in the village through the work of Giulia Mangoni that exudes a symbiotic relationship between art and craftsmanship, creating unprecedented links between past and present and biodiversity and society in honour of the symbolic fish of the local area and that spirit of closeness that is characteristic of Alpine communities.
The project consists of ten bronze handmade sculptures, mounted on local fossil-rich marine stone; with the existing architecture of the village in mind, in the various surrounding hamlets of the village the works are placed in pre-existing traditional stone fountains. The shape of the fish, between one fountain and another, differs each time, and can be glimpsed submerged in icy water. The works in bronze and stone are followed by a series of handcrafted wooden sculptures manufactured by an association of local artisans, positioned along a route that aims to encourage visitors to explore San Lorenzo.
To introduce the project, a painting depicting the Traveling Char introduces the viewer to the thousand- year-history that links this fish to the Alps.