Skip to main content

Pontebba / Pontafel

28 June 2024


7:00 p.m. guided tour of Pontebba/Pontafel by historian Davide Tonazzi; departure in front of the bar "il Barbe" in Piazza Dante Alighieri 10, 33016 Pontebba

8:30 p.m. toast at the bar "il Barbe"; possibility to have dinner at one's own expense at the bar "il Barbe" (for info and reservations: 3801011673) or dinner in the garden of Lazara Bucarely Gardenas, just behind the bar "il Barbe" (bring your own food!)

9.30 p.m. start of the performance in the garden of Lazara Bucarely Gardenas 

event language: guided tour in Italian, performance in Friulan

information: +39 3281547471

thanks to: Comune di Pontebba, Associazione "Quello che le montagne restituiscono", bar "il Barbe", Lazara Bucarely Gardenas, Davide Tonazzi 

Pontebba, Pontafel, Ponteibe, Tablja. If four are the languages in which you can call it, then three are the bodies of waters that meet here, two the confluences that follow each other, and one is the bridge that together unites and divides. And if there is no doubt that the protagonist here is the Pontebbana stream, border for centuries between the Patriarchate of Aquileia and the Bishopric of Bamberg, the Serenissima Republic and the Holy Roman Empire, the Kingdom of Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, upon closer inspection, the border is not that clear-cut: between the two bell towers, one with a pointed dome, the other with an onion one, declaring to this day to the whole nation the different identity of the two shores, it’s in the church of the first, therefore Venetian, that we can find Heinrich von Villach's Flügelaltar, a treasure of the Carinthian Renaissance; and even the sumptuous town hall, built in the second year of the fascist era to celebrate the annexation of the left bank to the Kingdom of Italy, hosts on its roof four obelisks, which bring us much further east of Carinthia, all the way to Egypt, or even further on to Axum, Tiya and deepest Ethiopia. 

From the bridge over the stream I see the Scalzer hilltop and the words of sixteen-year-old soldier Hans, a Styrian from the von Lichem volunteer rifle battalion, who from that very hilltop looked down at the destroyed Pontebba and Pontafel, come to mind: "After the past two days of fog, the weather has improved and the hills and valleys below us are lit up by the sun. I take advantage of the crystal-clear sky to observe everything with my binoculars. (...) The space between the two opposing mountain chains isn’t occupied by anyone, it is the "dead area", no man’s land and everyone's land at once.» 

I am distracted from the history of '15-18 by Mrs. Lazara Bucarely Gardenas who comes in all dressed up, her deep Orisha eyes under a woolen hat: «Hola, bienvenido, bienvenido! Madre de dios, que frio...entremos rapido!». We are at the historic café Alla posta, close to the town hall, but it already seems to be elsewhere, the Alps becoming the Sierra Maestra, and Arturo Zardini Camilo Cienfuegos: thank you Mrs. Lazara, thank you so much for giving us permission to do the performance in your garden... but thank you even more for reminding me once again what an unimaginable wonder Europe is.