Undoubtedly, Alfredo Corti (1880-1973) has been one of the greatest photographers from Valtellina. His favourite subjects were mountains.
That's why, on the occasion of the INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF THE MOUNTAINS, an exhibition presenting a collection of photographs from Corti's archives has been mounted inside the Palazzo Sertoli and inside the Palazzo Sassi de'Lavizzari, in Sondrio.
Certainly a wonderful event to many people, as most of the photographs by Alfredo Corti have not been shown to the great public for over fifty years.
This rich collection of enchanting photographs captures details of the alpine landscape in our valleys and our mountains (e.g. the Val Masino, the glacier Forni, the peak Badile, the Ortles).
The Credito Valtellinese Foundation is pleased to celebrate, together with Sondrio Mountain Club, the figure of this great photographer from Valtellina.
The exhibition presents about ninety photographs from Corti's archives, some of which required accurate restoration, as they were clearly worn out with time.
Alfredo Corti was born in Tresivio (province of Sondrio) on July 24 1880. As a child, he used to walk in the mountains of Boirolo with his father. He had a classical education from the 'Liceo' in Sondrio.
In those years, he became interested in naturalistic studies. In 1899, he finished his first project of the "Galle" in Valtellina.
He graduated in Natural Science from the Pavia University in 1902. One year later, he started his career as a professor at Parma University.
In 1924, he became professor of Comparative Anatomy at Turin University, faculty of Natural Science. He settled in Turin with all his family. His wife, Helen Hamilton, came from Scotland. They had got married in 1914 and had had five children.
In the second half of the '20s and of the '30s, Alfredo Corti's strong need for freedom made him rebel against the Fascism.
He was arrested in 1942, and then deprived of his chair at Turin University. He was also excluded from Italy's Mountaineering Centre (former name of the C.A.I., Italy's Mountain Club).
After World War II, he was given the chair at Turin University back, which he held, as emeritus professor, until 1955.
Alfredo Corti died in Rome on July 7 1973. He was buried together with his wife and his son Marco in the English Cemetery.
He never omitted to honour his commitments at University; nevertheless he often came back to the mountains, in particular to his beloved Valtellina.
Since 1898, he had been a member of the C.A.I. He had explored the mountains around his native valley, which he loved so much and which he knew very well.
That's why, the C.A.I. entrusted him with the editing of a guidebook on the Region Bernina, which was published in 1911.
Not to be forgotten, an interesting guide book about the Alps of the Valley Grosina, which Corti published - in association with W. Laeng - in 1909.
From 1934 to 1938, he was the editor of a guidebook about the central area of the Alps Orobie. Due to the war and to various problems, this book by Alfredo Corti, Bruno Credaro and Silvio Saglio was published only twenty years later, in 1957.
Corti's great knowledge of the mountains arose from his personal view of mountaineering: not only walking in the mountains but also looking for new paths, secluded corners of the Alps and new emotions.
These are the reasons why Alfredo Corti is largely regarded as the major exponent of the classic mountaineering in Valtellina.