Monte Corno

I thought I was flying

The first ascent to Corno Grande summit of Gran Sasso of Italy made in 1573 by Francesco De Marchi, a man at service of Margaret of Parma (Austria). 


When I was above the summit, looking around,
it seemed that I was in the air,
because all the very high mountains that are
below it were much lower than this one.
Francesco De Marchi 



Francesco De Marchi 






historian of alpinism


journalist, writer, photographer, filmaker


president of CAI L’Aquila 


On the 19th of August 1573 Francesco de Marchi, with a small expedition, climbed the impervious and rocky peak of the Corno Grande, the highest mountain of the Italian Apennine range, accomplishing an epic feat for his time: reaching a peak out of curiosity, climbing what he considered the highest mountain in Italy. He wrote the Chronicle of the climb anticipating by 213 years the ascent of Mont Blanc accomplished by Balmat and Paccard on 8 August 1786, considered the first ascent in the history of mountaineering.

On the 450th anniversary of the feat, the film recounts, narrated in the very words of Francesco De Marchi, the ascent, with a detailed fictional reconstruction, through spectacular images of the climb on the limestone rock of the Corno Grande.

Intertwined with the fiction there is a documentary narrative in which experts and connoisseurs of the feat, such as Vincenzo Brancadoro, historians Stefano Ardito and Roberto Mantovani, mountaineer Hervè Barmasse, geologist Mario Tozzi, speak to us, on the very places of the climb to the summit of Gran Sasso, about the historical figure of De Marchi and the themes he addressed: the ascent and its difficulties, the measurement of the peak and the geography of the places, the state of the Calderone Glacier (the southeast one in Europe), the wool and leather trades that took place between L’Aquila and Teramo, passing through Campo Imperatore.

The absolute protagonist is the Gran Sasso d’Italia, the highest mountain massif in the Apennines.


Film Gallery

con il sostegno della Direzione generale Cinema e audiovisivo

Sextantio | Ostello Campo Imperatore | Amaranto 99