Last Messner Mountain Museum Opens in Dolomites

The sixth and final Messner Mountain Museum has just opened in Italy’s Dolomite Mountains. Designed by renowned Iraqi-English architect Zaha Hadid, the MMM Corones perches on the side of the Kronplatz, 2,275 feet above sea level, offering views of both Italy’s Dolomites and the Swiss Alps. It’s the last in a planned series conceived by Italian mountaineer Reinhold Messner, best known for making the first ascent of Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen.

Like its companions  Messner Mountain Museums (MMMs), MMM Corones will house a collection relating to mountains and mountaineering, in this case specifically Messner’s own training and ascents. MMM Firmian’s holdings trace the history of mountaineering,  MMM Dolomites focuses on the human conquest of that range, MMM Juval highlights the “holiest” mountains of the world, MMM Ripa is all about other continents’ mountains, and MMM Ortier showcases that artist’s work along with ice-climbing history and gear.

The museums each have unique locations, architecture, and eco-features that include the use of site topography and resources, historic architecture, and environmentally friendly systems and materials. MMM Corones, designed to blend sinuously with its steep site, has an interior located entirely underground, with just its entrance visible outside. The interior stairs are designed to resemble a waterfall flowing down mountain rocks.

While some of the other MMMs allow gorgeous vistas of mountains silhouetted against towns and cities, the MMM Corones gives visitors unprecedented opportunity to fully and safely take in the confluence of the Marmolada Glacier and the Zillertal section of the Alps. Messner hopes that this meeting place of mountains will also help viewers better understand how people and languages (including Italian, Ladino and Swiss German) met and melded. –Bethanne Patrick