The surroundings of Erto and Casso are well known for their natural, historical and cultural beauty. Especially Erto, with its narrow paved little streets and ancient stone houses, is a typical mountain hamlet, so much so that it was declared National Monument in 1976. Erto and Casso, although very much different, together make up the farthest north-eastern municipality in the Friuli region, on the border with the Province of Belluno. Erto has ancient origins and appears in roman remains and written documents dating back to the eighth century. Casso is more recent and its existence is reported since the fourteenth century. Dialects also play a role in marking their differences: in Erto a sort of ladino dolomitico is spoken, different from the type of dialect spoken in Casso, much more similar to the one of the Veneto-Belluno area.
The Passion Play on Good Friday
The deep cultural roots of the community of Erto are its distinctive features. Each year on Good Friday visitors from all over the north-eastern regions come and see the old dramatic presentation of the Way of the Cross. Since 1631 people in Erto have been staging the Passion Play of Jesus Christ every year on Easter Friday: this play was first staged as a ritual to ward off the plague epidemic that was violently growing all over Europe. Erto was indeed spared, perhaps thanks to its isolated position rather than to the vote. However, since then actors in period costumes have been staging the Passion Play every year on Good Friday, depicting the trial, suffering and death of Jesus Christ on an open-air scenery.
The nature, history and culture of Erto and its surroundings are at the roots of works by Mauro Corona, nationwide writer, climber and artist. Through his books Mauro Corona brings the reader in contact with the almost vanished ancient life and traditions of Vajont Valley villages. His sculptures are carved from the wood of the Cellina Valley forests and the stone of the mountains he climbs and loves.
The magical and uncontaminated territory of the Carnia region, safeguarded by the Friulian Dolomites National Park authority extends all around Erto: a perfect place to take a walk and enjoy nature, on the paths of the Zemola Valley for instance, as well as popular rock climbing destination with many natural rock climbing walls. The natural rock climbing site of Erto is famous all over the world as a legendary climbing site for challenging competitions among climbers. The most famous climbing wall was created in 1978, just opposite the Vajont Dam, sadly known for the October 9th, 1963, disaster. Even today on these climbing walls you may meet Mauro Corona, one of the first climbers to open ways on these cliffs.
Every time I think of Erto, my old village, the one abandoned after the Vajont catastrophe, with its aged side-by-side houses and dark paved alleyways, my memories go to wintertime.
– Mauro Corona
Trattoria Al Cervo Bianco Erto
via Val della Bruasa, 26
33080 Erto e Casso (PN) – Italy