Rome, with Jolly Lamberti and Andrea Di Bari was quite close to your small town. Which relations have you developed with that world?
We didn't have any relationship with them, except for climbing.
The people of Rome never bonded with the "rednecks" (that's what they call the small town boys...). We just shared a bit of sporting humour.
People of Rome have always shown a certain arrogance. Exceot for the group of Andrea di Bari (composed by common people, not much rich), they were very reserved. Anyway, every time we climbed together, we had a lot of fun.
We have been arguing about ethical issues, about chipping holds and many other unsuitable things.
They had very different ideas about route setting, and this resulted in unpleasant confrontations with us.
Ar. Andrea Imbrosciano
Was so wide the gap between classes during the eighties?
We already perceived a distance between us and them. We thought differently, we lived and behaved in a different way. They were used to climbing every weekend, whereas we couldn't always do the same. Often on Sunday we were at home, and in the afternoon we went to play pool in a bar.
We had a different life style. Our parents didn't give us money for climbing. We needed to earn the money for climbing and quickdraws and pitons. It wasn't easy for us climbing on a Sunday because we didn't have a continuing employment, from Monday to Friday. Often we needed to work on Sunday. Then we hardly could borrow a car. Thus we were isolated and reading books was the only way to be informed.
Books found at some stand and little else?
Yes. Then my friend Leone knew betterr than us mountaineering. He oredered several books and manuals at a local bookseller, His home had become our library.
Between '84 and '86, during my militaru service, I stsrted to wonder and I understood that we don't have anything to do in our country, and we needed some changes. Thus the nineties were a different moment.
Ar. Andrea Imbrosciano
How did you live the appearance of climbing on the media, the first competitions, the first sponsorships?
My friend Leone made us read Motti and listen to Guccini [an Italian singer/songwriter, nde], even if we already liked more some American climbers, as John Gill, Bachar, Karl. Our point of view was already that of sport climbing. We pooled our money to buy Alp and La rivista della Montagna [the mountain magazine, nde], with the obligation to read it all in a day. Now, all those magazines are in my home.
The first climbing competitions, in Bardonecchia, made us shocked. It seemed unbelievable because until then climbing seemed to us an individualistic discipline. We got confused, but anyway we loved seeing these great personalities gathered together: Mariacher, Glowaz, Iovane, Moffat, Moon, Godoffe, Gullich and others.
Yet at the same time, we got bothered: until then their lifestyle seemed so solitary...
But obviously, after these things, we started thinking that climbing could be a profession, not only a discipline.
What did you think of lycra, colorful leggings, headbands?
My mother didn't want to see me with those clothes.
We went climbing by bike, in those colored leggings, in a small town, conservative and moralist... It was a kind of escape from everyday life...
Then, at a certain point, everything changed in my country. The encounter/battle with the Roman climbing world made us realize that we were doing something bigger than we thought, and also canceled our rules of conduct. We realized that to do what they were doing we needed carrying on regardless. We needed to exploit the belayer, his car, his gear. We lost our desire for discovery. We became almost obsessed with climbing, and we used to climbing from the morning to the evening.