If you are looking for a unique and unforgettable experience in Italy, you should not miss the opportunity to admire the works of Marco Martalar, a talented sculptor who creates amazing wooden sculptures using the trees damaged by a devastating storm. His works are scattered throughout the Trentino region, between the Alps and the Dolomites, and offer a stunning contrast between nature and art. In this article, we will introduce you to some of his most remarkable creations and tell you how to visit them.
The Drago Vaia: a symbol of rebirth and hope
One of the most famous and impressive works of Martalar is the Drago Vaia (Vaia Dragon), a huge dragon made of wood that stands on a hill in Lavarone, on the Alpe Cimbra plateau. The dragon is 6 meters high and 7 meters long, and it looks like it came out of a fantasy movie. It was built in 2020 with about 3,000 screws and 2,000 pieces of wood from the trees knocked down by Vaia, a powerful storm that hit the region in October 2018 and destroyed thousands of hectares of forests.
The Drago Vaia was meant to be a symbol of rebirth and hope for the local people and for the nature that suffered from the storm. It was also inspired by an ancient legend of the Cimbri, an ethnic group that lives in the area and has its own language and culture. According to the legend, a dragon used to live in a cave near Lavarone and protect the mountain from invaders. The dragon was also connected to the water cycle, as it could make rain or snow by breathing fire or ice.
Unfortunately, the Drago Vaia was destroyed by a fire in August 2023, probably caused by arson. The news shocked and saddened many people who loved and admired this work of art. However, Martalar decided not to rebuild it, but to leave it as it is, as a reminder of the fragility of life and nature. He also said that he will create another dragon somewhere else, as a sign of resilience and continuity.
The Cervo Vaia: a tribute to nature’s strength
Another impressive work of Martalar is the Cervo Vaia (Vaia Deer), a majestic deer made of wood that stands on a meadow in Folgaria, another town on the Alpe Cimbra plateau. The deer is 5 meters high and 6 meters long, and it has huge antlers that seem to touch the sky. It was built in 2019 with about 1,500 pieces of wood from the trees damaged by Vaia.
The Cervo Vaia is a tribute to nature’s strength and beauty, as well as to the local fauna that lives in harmony with the environment. The deer is also a symbol of wisdom and spirituality for many cultures, including the Native Americans and the Celts. Martalar chose this animal because he felt a connection with it since he was a child, when he used to observe them in the woods.
The Lupa del Lagorai: a homage to women’s courage
A recent work of Martalar is the Lupa del Lagorai (Lagorai Wolf), a stunning wolf made of wood that stands on a hill in Vetriolo Terme, near the Drago Vaia. The wolf is 6 meters high and was built in 2022 with about 2,000 pieces of wood from the trees damaged by Vaia. It also has some metal elements, such as the eyes and the teeth, that give it a more realistic look.
The Lupa del Lagorai is a homage to women’s courage and resilience, especially to those who fought for freedom and justice during the World Wars. The wolf is also a reference to the ancient Roman myth of the she-wolf that nursed Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome. Martalar chose this animal because he considers it a noble and loyal creature, as well as a symbol of wilderness and independence.
If you want to see the Lupa del Lagorai, you can reach it by following the same trail that leads to the Drago Vaia, as they are located very close to each other. You can also drive to the same parking lot near the paragliding launch site and walk for a few minutes to reach the wolf.
Other works of Martalar: a journey through art and nature
Besides these three main works, Martalar has created many other sculptures with wood from Vaia, as well as from other sources. Some of them are located in Trentino, while others are in other regions of Italy or abroad. Here are some examples of his other works that you can visit in Trentino:
- The Leone Alato di Vaia (Vaia Winged Lion), a lion with wings that represents the courage and the pride of the mountain people. It is located in Roana, on the Altopiano dei Sette Comuni, and was built in 2019 with about 1,500 pieces of wood from Vaia.
- The Grifo di Vaia (Vaia Griffin), a griffin that symbolizes the power and the protection of nature. It is located in Baselga di Pinè, near Trento, and was built in 2020 with about 1,000 pieces of wood from Vaia.
- The Grido Vaia (Vaia Scream), a hand that reaches out to the sky and expresses the pain and the anger of the forest after the storm. It is located in Predazzo, in Val di Fiemme, and was built in 2020 with about 500 pieces of wood from Vaia.
- The Custode (The Guardian), a woman that sits by the sea and watches over the lagoon. It is located in Venice, on the island of Certosa, and was built in 2020 with about 1,000 pieces of wood from various sources.
If you want to see more works of Martalar or learn more about his biography and his philosophy, you can visit his official website here or follow him on Facebook. You can also watch some videos about his works on YouTube.
Visiting Martalar’s works is not only a way to admire some amazing sculptures made of wood, but also a way to connect with nature and its emotions. His works are an expression of his love and respect for the environment, as well as for the local culture and history. They are also an invitation to reflect on the impact of human actions on nature and on the need to preserve it for future generations.
If you are planning a trip to Italy, you should definitely include Martalar’s works in your itinerary. You will discover a different side of this beautiful country, where art and nature blend together in harmony.