Widow Maria Luisa Mottini told Corriere della Sera that she curled up under a tree and recited the rosary until the dawn after losing her way during a storm. She said she had “no fear” as she knows the mountains “like the back of my hand”.
Nicknamed the “grandmother of the Alps”, Mottini said she had gone to Alta Valtellina, on the border of Italy and Switzerland, with two of her sons in search of a cow to raise following the birth of a calf. They had travelled together by jeep to the Carosello 3000 area, but she became separated from them after chasing a cow which had strayed.
The mother of six said she had just her “umbrella, boots, jacket and the Madonna” to protect her.
As dawn broke, Mottini, who also has ten grandchildren and a great-grandchild, said she started to make her way home.
Then a miracle took place, Corriere reported.
“A helicopter spotted her on the side of Costaccia mountain, at 2,350 metres above sea level,” the newspaper said.
Mottini said that a lifetime in the mountains had taught her that it was better not to risk the slopes on wet grass and in treacherous conditions.
“It was better to stop and wait for daylight and for the bad weather to pass, and so I did.”
Having never flown in her life, Monti said she was also nervous about getting in a helicopter.
“For the first time, I saw the mountains from the sky,” she told Corriere from her home in the alpine town of Livigno.
Corriere described her as a “small woman, but brave and strong."
She has lived alone for several years since her husband died, but said her large family keeps her busy.
“I’ve learned to make do. I do not miss anything: I have my health, my house and my cows,” she added.