Vandals have burnt down the beautiful wooden sculpture of a dragon called Drago Vaia at the ski resort Alpe Cimbra in Italy. Alpe Cimbra is located in the Italian Dolomites and has long been the European home base for the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team. Legends of the U.S. Alpine team, like Mikaela Shiffrin, Lindsey Vonn or Ted Ligety have all trained here in past years.
The dragon sculpture, known also as ‘The Winged Dragon of Magré’, was designed by Venetian artist Marco Martalar and was made almost entirely from White Fir. The sculpture was more than 6m (20ft) high and 7m (23ft) long. The Drago Vaia was the world’s largest wooden dragon and its construction required months of work, 3,000 screws and 2,000 pieces of wooden debris. As the dragon was made from untreated wood, it was always destined to gradually disappear as time, snow and wind took its toll, returning the dragon to nature.
Unfortunately vandals were faster as the lit the stunning sculpture ruthlessly on fire in the night of August 22, 2023. The fire department came as fast as possible but was too late to save the sculpture.
The dragon was part of the Lavarone Green Land project, which is aiming to raise awareness for the fragile Alpine territory of the Alpe Cimbra region. The project’s goal was to raise awareness about climate change and was part of a larger ‘green walk’ through the ski resort. Lavarone Green Land aims to bring together nature, leisure and relaxation, with art and a sense of magic. Now vandalizm has destroyed a piece of magic that brought joy and a sense of wonder to so many people, big and small.
Unfortunately the highest White Fir forest in Europe was largely destroyed by the Vaia storm in 2018, which swept through the Trentino region in Italy, leaving a wake of destruction. The hurricane-force storm flattened millions of trees, destroying tens of thousands of hectares of Alpine forest. Wood from the destroyed Alpine forest was used for the Drago Vaia statue.
The mayor of the municipality Lavarone, Isacco Corradi, vows to fight back and reached out to the public to help rebuild the amazing art work and started a GoFundMe campagin to raise the €50,000 (USD 54,300) needed to rebuild the sculpture. So far the campaign has raised about €18,000 (USD 19,500).