I Suoni delle Dolomiti: a manifesto

The Dolomites. Are they rocks or clouds? Are they real or a dream?”  Dino Buzzati  


The Italian author Dino Buzzati was a great lover of the Dolomites and knew them extremely well. His rhetorical questions encapsulate the sense of astonishment and wonder that they inspire, as ridges are shrouded by rapidly rising fog, or sunshine suddenly bursts out and fills them with a glowing coral hue.

'I Suoni delle Dolomiti' is the name of a festival that was founded in Trentino 29 years ago to celebrate the breathtaking marvels of these mountains. Like all successful innovative initiatives, it has become a well-established tradition. Its story has been written thanks to the memories of the “Sounds community”, which includes guests, locals, artists and the living system in the Highlands; their voices echo through the deep time of the rocks. It’s as deep as the sea that once submerged the spots where the mountains now stand. The geology and the gorgeous scenery in this UNESCO World Heritage Site form an exclusive backdrop to shows that are steeped in unique, inimitable appeal.  

The symphony of silence that can be heard up here is like nothing else in the world and “I Suoni delle Dolomiti” complements it with the words of art and the most beautiful music ever made, engaging in a dialogue with the natural environment in the mountains. Up here, you soon realize that there’s nothing empty about the silence, which is far from the opposite of noise. Harmonies hover over the sunrises and the landscape, ringing out endlessly among artists, audiences and the natural surroundings. “I Suoni delle Dolomiti” converses with the calls of the animals and the echoes of the woods, ledges and peaks. It brings forth numerous vibrations that no indoor space could ever unleash or recreate.  

Madonna di Campiglio - Dolomiti di Brenta - Trekking - Mario Brunello | © Pierluigi Orler Dellasega

In a boundless natural theatre, music spreads as far as the eye can see and beyond. Just like in the original theatres, the stage belongs to the audience as well as the artists, as does the route leading to it. Everyone is fully devoted to listening to each other and although the venue is open, the atmosphere remains intimate.

In order to give you a better idea of what 'I Suoni delle Dolomiti' is all about, it’s worth bearing in mind what goes with it and what it isn’t, a bit like when you try to pick out the rocks among the fog, before you recognize their true substance, which can be even more incredible than dreams.  There’s nothing easy about 'I Suoni delle Dolomiti': to get to the performance location you have to walk at a decent tempo, stepping carefully and toiling away with everyone else. However, the effort makes the overall experience all the more fulfilling and leaves you with lasting memories and marvellous tales to tell.

'I Suoni delle Dolomiti' is always unique: although there are some things that all of the events have in common and there is a long, clear thread running through all of the years since the initiative started, it has stayed fresh thanks to a tireless search for new forms of expression. Being there and taking part captures the essence of living in the here and now. Behind it all is an unparalleled relationship between space, nature, art and listening. Accounts of what occurs are inevitably outweighed by the genuine experiences, while technology has no part to play on this front because no “I Suoni delle Dolomiti” events can be reproduced. Similarly, participation is not a passive process. It is a choice and you have to put yourself to the test on a journey that will change you. You’ll be transformed by the walk, the intensity of the silence in the mountains, the details in the scenery, the music and the words.  

San Martino di Castrozza - Val Canali - Villa Welsperg - 20 settembre 2021 - Dentro la tasca di un qualunque mattino - Mario Brunello - Neri Marcore - Gabriele - Mirabassi - Domenico Mariorenzi | © Enrica Pallaver

The walk is unquestionably a core, inescapable part of the experience: even in cases where all barriers are broken down and measures are taken to make events more accessible to everyone, the journey and the wait play an integral part. Right from the very beginning of every adventure, there's a feeling that you’re all in this together, not only with your fellow audience members but also with the artists and the staff as they join you on the paths with their rucksacks and instruments on their backs. One step at a time, you think, feel and hear each other. This is the stage when your journey becomes closely tied together with the aesthetic experience at the heart of this festival, in which the Dolomites not only provide the scenery but also star in the shows. 

First and foremost, “I Suoni delle Dolomiti” is a gift from the natural world. It is free and open to everyone who wants to take part, as long as they are prepared to make a tacit pledge to be respectful. This is yet another unique, incomparable quality that adds the finishing touch to the festival experience. 'I Suoni delle Dolomiti' treads lightly. Those who take part feel like they’re getting an unequalled gift from the location and the artists are prepared to put on performances that can prove challenging. It is for this very reason that not only the sounds but also the experiences are unique and unrivalled.  


All guests in all roles are kindly asked to show care for the place, its history, time, music, nature and other people, not to mention the transformations they go through themselves.   

I Suoni delle Dolomiti

The programme 
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Published on 23/04/2024