The Club Alpino Italiano: an association with 150 years of history
Founded on the 23rd of October 1863 in Torino – even if the ideal foundation already took place on the 12th of August during the famous ascent to the Monviso by Quintino Sella, Giovanni Barracco, Paolo and Giacinto di Saint Robert - , the Club Alpino Italiano is a free national association, which, corresponding to art. 1 of its statuts, “has the scope of alpinism in all its manifestations, the knowledge and the study of the mountains, especially the Italian ones, and the protection of their natural environment.”
From a legal point of view the Club Alpino Italiano is a non-economic public authority, established on the 26th of January 1963 with law n.91 and following changes and additions. The association is composed by the members of the sections which are coordinated in regional groups. In December 2012 the CAI had 315 914 members in 498 sections and 309 subsections which in turn belonged to 21 regional groups (two of those on the provincial level: Trentino and South Tyrol)
On the national Italian level, the central structure of the CAI is a non-economic public authority, while the peripheral structures (sections, regional and provincial groups) are subjects of private law.
In application of law n.776 from the 24th of December 1985 relative to new dispositions about the CAI, the association provides the following activities for its members and others in the framework of its statutory tasks:
- Diffusion of mountain frequentation and organisation of alpinistic, excursionistic and speleological initiatives diffused over the whole national territory.
- Organisation and management of courses of alpinism, ski mountaineering, excursions, speleology, nature for the support of a secure frequentation of the mountains.
- Formation of 22 different kinds of guides (trainer, companions, operators), necessary for the complete range of offers
- Routing, realisation and maintenance of trails and alpine and alpinistic equipment
- Realisation, maintenance and management of huts and bivouacs in highly alpine areas in the ownership of the CAI and its sections, currently 734 structures with altogether 20847 sleeping places, fixing the criteria and means
- Organisation, through the national corps for alpine rescue and speleolgy (CNSAS), a natioanl section of the CAI, of adapted initiatives for the vigilance and prevention of accidents during the activities of mountaineering, excursions, speleology ,the rescue of injured people and the recovering of crashed people.
- Promotion of scientific and didactic activities about the knowledge of every aspect of the alpine environment as well as every initiative adapted for the protection and valorisation of the national alpine environment, also through the work of the national and regional technical organs.
- Promotion of education and ethical-cultural initiatives, of studies for the broadening the knowledge about the alpine environment and its population in its various aspects, of photography and mountain cinematography and the conservation of alpine culture
- Organisation and management of formation courses for professional speleological guides and experts of the national avalanche service (SVI)
The great enthusiasm of the voluntary commitment which distinguishes CAI in the panorama of Italian associations has allowed concretizing a wide range of offers in favour of the mountains and their visitors, as refuges, bivouacs, trails, reforestations and social works.