Tagliamento - King of Alpine Rivers

A TV-Documentation by Björn Kölz and Gernot Stadler

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GS-Film, ORF/3sat
Written and directed by
Björn Kölz und Gernot Stadler
Gernot Stadler
Production Management
Monika Orsini-Rosenberg
Daniel Stadler
Production Management 3sat
Rosemarie Prasek
Editorial Team 3sat
Franziska Mayr-Keber
Overhead line 3sat
Petra Gruber
ORF Enterprise

“Nothing in the world is surpassed by this shimmering horizon, lost in infinity on the banks of the Tagliamento in a thousand different shades, by the many gutters that run through the wide bed of gravel like a net and turn into trembling silver at sunset, each pebble and each rippling wave radiates its own light, just as each pebble “ignites” its own light in the blue of the night. (Ippolito Nievo, March 1856)

On the way to the seaside resorts on the Adriatic, a section of the Tagliamento is known to many tourists from Austria and other European countries, but only a few have noticed it correctly. The vast gravel areas that meander along the motorway through the Canal Valley can change dramatically, from a stone desert with little water-carrying channels to a raging river.

In contrast to other Alpine rivers, almost no regulatory measures have been carried out on the Tagliamento. He can roll freely through his beds, some of which are two kilometres wide. The numerous branches, shallow water zones and collections of dead wood provide an ideal habitat for a unique flora and fauna. In spring, when the snow melts, or when it rains heavily, the Tagliamento becomes a raging stream, pushing tons of sand and gravel down the valley. This dynamic characterizes its ecosystem. Sediment deposition lead to the formation of new islands on which many plant species settle.

Following the “King of the Alpine Rivers” is a journey of contrasts. It leads from the Venetian mountains through Carnia, one of the most beautiful landscapes in upper Italy, to enchanting valleys, crossed by the tributaries of the Tagliamento, to the beaches of the Adriatic. In addition to architectural and natural monuments, the focus lies, above all, on the people who live by and with the river.