Small Dolomites

Small Dolomites

On the border between the provinces of Trento, Vicenza and Verona there are the Piccole Dolomiti Vicentine, better known as Small Dolomites: they represent a small mountain range part of the Vicenza Prealps and are considered among the snowiest in Trentino Alto Adige and Veneto, despite being very popular especially in summer due to nature which reveals a powerful explosion of life and colours.
The name of these mountains is linked to dolomite, the stone that actually makes up the "major" Dolomites declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In addition to the naturalistic component, the Little Dolomites are also of great importance from a historical point of view: these mountains were in fact the scene of the bloody battles of the First World War.

Many hiking trails that cross the length and breadth of the Little Dolomites retrace roads built by the soldiers themselves: think of the legendary Strada delle 52 Gallerie, an extraordinary military engineering work that connects the Pasubio Gates to Bocchetta di Campiglia.

Summer in the Little Dolomites

In the summer, the Little Dolomites literally become a paradise for hikers and sportsmen who love to practice their outdoor activities. The constant are the luxuriant and uncontaminated landscapes, as well as the panoramas which, on the clearest and clearest days, can come to include the Po Valley and the Venetian Lagoon.

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Chalet in the Dolomites

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At the Little Dolomites you can go on trips by mountain bike, such as the one to the vault of Monte Civillina, or paragliding, sport fishing or horseback riding going to the Small Dolomites Equestrian Center in Brogliano. Who loves them climbing, will be able to find the right entertainment by going to the Baffelan, a 1793 m high mountain. high which has vertical rock faces and rocky paths of different degrees of difficulty.

In Recoaro there is the Split Mountain: it is a narrow gorge, dug over the centuries by the Torrazzo, with rock walls that reach almost 90 m. high and a vegetation so thick as to make the atmosphere bucolic and fairytale. It is not surprising that this place is linked to the figure of Ethele, one of the Dolomite fairies known as Anguan, who died right here.

From Recoaro Terme you can also easily reach the village of Trambileno (province of Trento), only 50 km away: it is worth reaching this location because it is here that the beautiful Hermitage of San Colombano, located on the mountain overlooking the Leno River. The path to reach it passes by the lovely lake of San Colombano, and then ends with a flight of 102 steps: although it had been a hermitage since 753, the monastery was born in the XNUMXth century and houses beautiful frescoes inside historical events such as the drought of the fifteenth century, the plague stopped by the intercession of San Colombano and the fight of the same saint against the dragon that used to kill all the children baptized in the waters of the Leno.

Only about 11 km from Recoaro Terme there is the village of Valli del Pasubio, in the province of Vicenza: there is no better season than summer to reveal the beauties of this town of ancient Cimbrian culture, among churches, wooden and stone houses and a picturesque Venetian sawmill that has existed since the 700th century. Also in the historic center of Valli di Pasubio is the Museo degli Antichi Mestieri, with inside a series of tools recovered over time from barns and cellars, all attributable to jobs of the past such as the pork butcher, the cheesemaker, the carpenter, the shoemaker, blacksmith and woodcutter.

What to do and what to see

The must of a holiday in the Little Dolomites are certainly the excursions, suitable for everyone, families and experts. For example, it is very suggestive to travel the Path of the Big Trees, which winds its way to 1000 m. about high between the Valle dell'Agna and the Chain of the Three Crosses.

The path essentially winds through centuries-old trees, including the ancient beech trees of the Due Fratelli, but you also cross a marble quarry, the Malga Anghebe and the Case Asnicar, with the characteristic Cimbrian sloping roofs. Further along the route, you pass by the Sea del Risso lake and, in continuous ups and downs, you cross pastures, other huts and trenches from the Great War, until you reach the Cesare Battisti refuge located at 1260 m. of height.

From Valli del Pasubio, on the other hand, what is considered one of the most beautiful and scenic hiking trails of the Little Dolomites starts: it is the Castle Trail along the crest of Sengio Alto. If you park your car at the parking lot on the Pian delle Fugazze Pass, the path first leads to the Pasubio Ossuary where the remains of about 5000 soldiers who lost their lives fighting on Mount Pasubio are kept, in fact considered a sacred mountain in Italy. The route continues along trail no. 175 towards Monte Cornetto, with a surrounding panorama that embraces the Val dell'Agno and Val Leogra, until it reaches the Forcella del Cornetto at 1825 m. of height.

Continue passing by the famous Sentiero dell'Arroccamento n.149, between tunnels dug at the time of the First World War and gravel canals which can be crossed thanks to the footbridges, passing the Tre Apostoli and the Forcella del Baffelan at 1732 m. of height. The destination of this excursion is the Passo delle Grane at 1704 m. high and the subsequent Campogrosso Refuge.

Among the routes to do absolutely in the summer in the Little Dolomites, which all history lovers must do, is the Strada delle 52 Gallery: it is a mule track built in just ten months, on Monte Pasubio, during the First World War in 1917. Crossing deep gorges, walls and rocky pinnacles, it connects Bocchetta Campiglia (1216 m high) to the Pasubio Gates ( 1930 m high): along the route, which is about 6,5 km long, there are no less than 52 tunnels dug into the solid rock and especially named after specific army units or some brave soldiers.

These tunnels, as well as the entire road, allowed the necessary supplies to the First Line, which was at the top of the Pasubio, from the Italian rear lines. In the past the galleries were illuminated and the longest is the n.19 (Galleria Vittorio Emanuele III), with its 320 m. which, with 4 steep hairpin bends, climbs vertically in a spiral.

The Strada delle 52 Gallerie can only be traveled in the summer, along path no. 366 which has a difference in altitude of 800 m.: starting from Bocchetta Campiglia, you walk towards the Papa Refuge at Porte del Pasubio (1928 m. high).

From Pian delle Fugazze to 1162 m. of height another unmissable route starts, namely the Path of Heroes, also linked to the Great War which saw many battles take place on the Little Dolomites. It is a path of only 2 km but very panoramic, which connects the beautiful Galleria d'Havet to the Achielle Papa refuge on Monte Pasubio.

Its name is linked to the many plaques affixed to the rocks in memory of the 15 Gold Medals of Military Valor who fought here during the First World War: along the excursion you come across 11 tunnels and overhanging stretches with a magnificent view over the Val Canale.

Continuing the exploration of the Small Dolomites on the traces of the history fought by the valiant Italian soldiers, one cannot avoid going through the Path of Peace (n.115): it starts from the Malga Zugna Refuge and reaches the Parco della Pace where the Austrian soldiers built cisterns and small barracks. Once you reach the top of Monte Zugna, you reach Passo Buole known as the “Thermopylae of Italy” because here a group of Italians strenuously resisted, in May 1916, to prevent the enemies from breaking through the Vallarsa front and reaching Trincerone.

Among the many excursions that can be done during the summer season in the Small Dolomites there is the unmissable one which from Passo Pian delle Fugazze leads to the top of the Pasubio. You have to take path no. 300, which is quite flat at the beginning among various scree, until you reach Monte Pria Favella. You climb through beautiful beech and spruce woods until you reach the Val Canale, beyond which you climb again with the road that gradually becomes narrower and made up of frequent hairpin bends, until you reach the Achille Papa Refuge in the shade of the summit of Monte Pasubio.

Another peak that can be reached is that of Mount Carega which, with its 2259 m. high, it is the highest in the Little Dolomites chain, from whose peak you can also see the Presanella and Adamello glaciers. It can be reached from the Campogrosso refuge via path no. 162 or from the Revolto refuge: the point of arrival is the Mario Fraccaroli refuge located at an impressive 2230 m. of height.

Holidays in the Little Dolomites

Although the Little Dolomites are a small mountain range, there are many excursions that can be organized and, in some cases, even require several days. It goes without saying therefore that, to really discover the territory, they would be needed at least 15 days, so that you can enjoy the summer in the Little Dolomites in a relaxed way and without having to rush to see as many things as possible without wasting even a moment of time.

In 2 weeks it is possible to calmly visit i villages Venetians of the Small Dolomites, as well as those of the nearby province of Trento, but above all participate in the different institutional events, which are organized during the summer season. For example a camposilvano, a small fraction of Velo Veronese, the folklore takes place in the month of August Ganzega del Bosco, during which the ancient traditions of the place are revived, in particular the activities of the woodcutters. Skill competitions, music, dances and tastings of typical foods enliven this festival, enlivening the summer evenings in Camposilvano.

During the warmer season, night visits to the suggestive are also organized Fort of Pozzacchio part of the Campo Trincerato del Matassone (in the province of Trento) while, reaching the village of Terragnolo in Trentino (where it is also possible to buy handmade bobbin lace), it takes place in June Stones and more, an event that allows master sculptors to showcase their works made in stone.

With regard to accommodation, there are luxury hotels or cheaper family-run hotels, B&Bs and holiday homes, therefore suitable for every type of tourist, from families to the youngest and the most sporty.

You can also stop in one of the many refuges of the Little Dolomites, where you can taste at the same time the typical dishes like macaroni al torcio, soup bread with chicken broth and stale bread, gnocchi with the floret (a particular sour semi-liquid ricotta typical of Recoaro Terme), bigoli with duck sauce, the ever-present polenta with mushrooms or game and then the Cornedese carnelian (fruit similar to cherry with which local mustards and jams are produced).


Places to stay to visit the Little Dolomites

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