A natural installation of tall beech trees in a clearing at the base of a mountain may be one of the most poignant intersections of art and nature. Designed by Italian land artist Giuliano Mauri, this Tree Cathedral, located in northern Italy near Bergamo, pays testament to the organic beauty of nature and the natural cycle of life. Read on to learn about the inspiration behind its design.
The late Giuliano Mauri (1938 – 2009) was a unique contemporary artist who is best remembered for his environmental installations or so-called ‘natural architecture.’ He created intricate structures such as windmills, towers and large chests using hundreds of branches and logs that were carefully woven together to form durable, free-standing creations. Mauri’s most famous work is the Cattedrale Vegetale or Tree Cathedral at the foot of the Pizzo Arera mountains close to the Italian Alps, though the project was carried out years after his passing. The idea of creating a Cathedral made of trees first came to him in the 1980s, and he oversaw two previous renditions of the structure: a 2001 project carried out in Trento and a 2010 project carried out in nearby Orobie.
The present Tree Cathedral is comprised of over 1,800 stakes of fir and 600 chestnut tree branches, carefully woven according to ancient techniques using flexible wood, ropes and nails. The structure features 5 aisles and 42 columns, with a single beech tree within each column. The man-made columns will naturally deteriorate, while the trees within will continue to grow, creating a wall and roof for the structure. The Tree Cathedral, in fact, is intended to inspire reflection on nature: its glory, its fragility, its endurance.
Mauri had a strong reverence for nature, and he believed that using organic materials would pay homage to the the inevitable transformation and evolution of his works of art. Incorporating natural elements creates a unique dialogue between the artist and the living work that continues to evolve over time. ‘I was moved by the idea of putting myself in relation with the natural cyclus, not offending it, not interfering with it,’ the artist said.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.