The “International Exhibition of Gelato” (MIG) takes place in Longrone every year at the beginning of winter. This international fair on “cold sweet” makes Longarone (Belluno) the gelato capital, drawing the attention of gelato makers from all over the world. Forty years ago things were different. The initiative began modestly for the willingness of local people: there were only 18 exhibiting companies in the traditional meeting point of the gelato makers from the Valley of Zoldo and Cadore. During the winter, they came back home at the end of the work season from the ice cream parlours of Germany, Austria, The Netherlands, and other European countries. During the opening days, international conferences and meetings on topical subjects are held, and famous competitions such as the “Coppa d’Oro” and the “Carlo Pozzi” award take place.
Points of interest
Monumental church of Longarone
The Church of Santa Maria Immacolata, better known as the Monumental Church of Longarone, was dedicated to the Victims of Vajont and built according to the project of Architect Giovanni Michelucci, one of the greatest Italian architects of the 20th century (he designed, for instance, the Santa Maria Novella station in Florence and the church on the Autostrada del Sole motorway). The structure built in reinforced concrete has an elliptical shape, giving life to two superimposed amphitheaters (the lower one is covered and includes the altar and the area reserved for the faithful, whilst the upper one is uncovered and is sometimes used for special events). Outside, the Vajont Victims Memorial and the Pietre Vive (Living Stones) Museum can still be visited.
The Monumental Cemetry
The present Monumental Cemetery of the Victims of the Vajont looks like a vast garden, a green lawn, on which rest 1910 white marble stones, one for each victim of the tragedy. The access portal, with its particular shape, evokes the tragic image of the dam. On the ground floor there is a collection of artefacts and photographs, which evoke the life of Longarone before the Tragedy, while on the upper floor there is a terrace overlooking the Monumental Cemetery. Behind the visitor stand are eleven metal plates where, without interruption, the names of the victims are engraved. Every name, a person. It has been a National Monument since 2003.
Church of Castellavazzo
At the top of the village once stood the castle of Lavazzo, on the ruins of which the ancient parish church of Santi Quirico e Giulitta was later enlarged. Inside, there are some works of art, amongst which, noteworthy are a seventeenth-century painting by an anonymous artist representing the Madonna del Rosario, crowned by two angels, and the altarpiece by Egidio Dall’Oglio, an eighteenth-century artist, portray the martyrdom of Giulitta and her little son Quirico, which took place around the year 304. The recently restored organ is played during the most important festivities. Not far away is the oratory of Sant’Elena.
La Foresta di Cajada
The vast Cajada Forest (or, locally, Cajada) is a magnificent natural amphitheatre, of very high environmental value, suspended over the high Desedan Valley. Part of the Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park is located in the middle of dense woods with remarkable biotypes: silver firs, beeches, larches and mugo pines. The green undulating glades and the vast pasture basin characterise the locality of Palughet. A tower, a garrison, a symbol. La Torre della Gardona. The triangular-shaped tower, an original, unique, piece of architecture, is located on a cliff overlooking the Piave and has always aroused interest and amazement. The Gardona is often referred to as a tower, fortilitium or pass, but its role as a customs checkpoint for transit towards Cadore is undoubted. It is currently the heraldic symbol of the coat of arms of the Municipality of Longarone.