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Our little black book of enchanting places


Inside the new Messner Mountain Museum Corones by Maggie O'Sullivan

Posted in DESTINATIONS By Maggie O' Sullivan

This is the new Messner Mountain Museum Corones in the Dolomites. It’s the sixth in a series of museums built in collaboration with the legendary mountaineer, Reinhold Messner. Each of the museums has a different theme and MMM Corones, on the summit of Mount Kronplatz, is dedicated to the discipline of alpinism.

Fortunately, for those of us without Messner’s talent for scaling rock face, the museum is only a short trudge through the snow from the top of the cable car, as I discovered when I visited last month in unseasonably early snow.At first sight, the MMM Corones, designed by Iranian architect Zaha Hadid and based on an idea by Messner, was disappointing – nowhere near as beautiful as the publicity shots and rather bleak against the magnificent mountain backdrop. Perhaps it works better without snow – but then, given that this is one of the most popular ski areas in the Dolomites, that’s how the majority of its visitors will see it. The jarring asymmetry in such a beautiful spot also bothered me.We paid our €7 and went in. Ah. This was what all the fuss had been about. It’s a hauntingly beautiful space that curves and flows like a glacier towards two enormous plate-glass ‘portholes’. Beyond the portholes are the soaring spires of the Dolomites. The point of the museum, says Messner, is to ‘shed light on alpinism with the help of relics, thoughts, works of art…’ but, really, it’s about the singular beauty of these spectacular mountains. How can works of art and relics possibly compete?I was expecting a comprehensive history of alpinism, but there was only one large display case containing a collection of Messner’s old boots and various bits of mountaineering equipment, all sparingly labelled (apparently, this is to encourage visitors to do their own research). Never mind. It gave us more time to watch the mountaineering documentary that was showing in the museum’s small cinema.There’s no café in the MMM Corones so it was time to head off in search of a coffee. Before we left, we took one last look at the view… This really has to be one of the best-located museums in the world.

Further information, MMM Corones

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