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Alpine Village - Expo Turin 1911

Alpine Village at the Exhibition Expo Turin 1911

On leaving Hungary, with the privilege of the Exhibitions of rapidly changing countries and impressions, we find ourselves transported into an entirely different world. From the regions watered by the Danube, we suddenly pass to our mountains; a breath of air from the Alps, refreshing our minds, will enable us to resume later, with new enthusiasm, our visit through the thousand marvels of industry and work.

On the right, as soon as we pass the Château du Valentin, a dark patch of fir trees invites us to stop in its shade. A small waterfall jumps down, clear and fresh, splashing its white foam in our faces, as if to laugh. A tiny path climbs the side of the waterfall, and lingers at the meanders of a cave. It climbs between authentic rocks, covered with moss, lichens and ferns; the Alpine Village we meet on our left, on the steep slope of the mountain, completes our illusion; we could believe we are in the Alps.

In the small space of 708 square metres the whole Alpine village is here before our eyes! In the characteristic small square the little church stands, with its overhanging wooden roof, protecting the frescoes on the façade and the faithful gathered at the door in the morning during services. Next is the presbytery, with its hospitable porch for those surprised by the showers so frequent in the mountains.

Further on, it is the town hall. On the façade, the arms of the commune, half eaten away by time and bad weather, are attached to the sundial, which is entrusted with the task of indicating the time to the whole village.

Tempus temperat tempora; timbra sine sole sileo (Time moderates time; without the sun I am a mute shadow).

These serious and sententious maxims are imitated from those which, on the old sundials, always accompanied the free indication of the hours.

In the middle of the small square is the fountain, with its sculpted stone basin; you can hear its silver-sounding jet of water, while, opposite, the inn, with its traditional pine sign, invites you to revive yourself with a good glass of wine.

The village, with its rough stone houses, has not been copied from any particular place. And yet everyone thinks they recognise it, so realistic is its construction. The little church can only be the Magdeleine chapel, on the road from Aosta to Gressan. The inn is certainly one of the old houses of Dolonne in Courmayeur. The fountain is the one in the square in Cogne, and so on. All praise to the engineers Chevalley and Morelli di Popolo, who, with so much inventive joy, were able to realize the idea of this exhibition.

However, the inhabitants of the village are outside, busy working in the fields or grazing cattle on the Alps; the Alpine Club has taken advantage of their absence to arrange its own exhibition in their homes.

In the six rooms of the town hall, the mountain paintings are exhibited. There are about a hundred of them; even more would have been put on display if there had not been enough space and if the organizing committee, composed of Messrs. Jacques Grosso, César Maggi, Georges Belloni, Joseph Ciardi, had not made a rigorous selection among the works sent in. The Alpine Club has already held similar exhibitions; it intends to remind artists of the charm of the high mountains, with their pastures, rocks, snow and glaciers. This year's exhibition, the largest of all those held so far, has another characteristic, that of having attracted a good number of foreign artists, in accordance with its name of International Exhibition.

In the church the tourists find an exhibition of samples of Alpine tools and equipment.

A house houses photographs, the beautiful pictures of Victor Sella, dioramas, a relief of the Ruwenzori climbed by H.R.H. the Duke of Abruzzo, the tent and other souvenirs of the Duke's exploration of the North Pole.

The inhabitants of the mountains have not been forgotten, for the great concern of the Alpine Club has always been to promote the well-being of our valleys. Thus, in the Exhibition, we find the small alpine industries that could still make so much progress in our country, from the lace of Varallo to the baskets of chips of Valsesia, from the turned wooden objects of Viù to the dairy. In order to give visitors an exact idea of life in the mountains, some rooms have been reproduced with great care and detail: a kitchen from Cadore, a bedroom from Valle d'Aosta and a dairyman's room.

A last look at the rascard, the typical wooden building of Gressoney, which, in the villages of the upper Ossola, in the Formazza valley, rises to a real artistic beauty. The chalet, which was also reproduced at the regional exhibition in Rome near the Priory of Sant'Orso, serves here as a model for an alpine refuge.

The exhibition of the Alpine village was initiated by the Turin Section, with the help of the Central Office and the other Sections. The President of the Executive Commission is Count Louis Cibrario, President of the Turin Section.

©Guide Officiel de l'Exposition Internationale de Turin 1911