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Malga Dignas > Rifugio Rinfreddo

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This stage has been documented thanks to the contribution of Barbara Veronese.

Stage of important length and significant height differences, with two challenging climbs to Passo Palombino and Passo Silvella. Even without particular technical difficulties, some collapsed trees make the route challenging at times.

The highlights of the route are the crests of the Crode dei Longerin and the enchanting view from Passo Silvella, which embraces the pale peaks of the Sesto Dolomites.

Special Notes

During the ascent to the Palombino ridge, the path is often lost in the tall grass and you have to pay attention to the trail markers while keeping an eye on the GPS.

Along the ridge of Palombino and after crossing the Rio Mandrette, wherefrom the road you take the path, there are landslides on the route. You can pass easily, but need caution.

On the long cross path from Casera Melin to Casera di Silvella the route (first on the carriage road and on the path afterward) is sometimes interrupted by fallen trees. It is possible to pass (with some small stunts), but caution is required.

Along the carriage road that goes up to Passo Silvella it is possible to meet vipers: it is better to continually beat the sticks on the ground to warn them of your presence.

MTB: you can get easily to Passo Palombino via Casera Londo. From Casera Melin it is advisable to follow the valley bottom up to Casera di Silvella, from where you can continue without difficulty.

when to go
May - October
Suitable for
how to get there
description of the route

We leave Malga Dignas and soon begin the long climb (approx. 550 m height difference) towards the Palombino ridge. After a few hairpin bends, we leave the road and take the path on the left side. The track climbs sharply but smoothly. As we leave the woods, the path gets lost in the tall grass and we must be careful not to get lost.

At about 2,150 meters, a crossroad indicates the possibility of reaching Passo Palombino taking a cross path to the left side, without climbing up to the crest in front of us. We continue on a straight uphill path, on a steep slope. Once at the pass, we turn southwards and go up the last meters along the wide meadow ridge. On the top, we are surprised by the view on the Crode dei Longerin, with its sharp and very clear peaks.

We pass the old communication trenches (there are still several pieces of barbed wire on the ground) and descend to the Passo Palombino (about 300 m drop). We continue descending (approximately 300 m drop) on an excellent path towards the northern side of the valley, almost to Casera Melin. We take the carriage road on the right side and slowly return to altitude (about 200 m height difference), until we cross the Rio Mandrette and return to the path, with easy up and downs in the woods. After passing the Casera Cavallino, we continue on a path halfway up the mountain to the Casera di Silvella.

On a roadway, we start the slow climb (approximately 500 m height difference ) to the Passo di Silvella. The road is long but on a gentle and constant slope. From the pass (2,329 m) the view opens up to the Sesto Dolomites: the sharp crests of the Lastron dei Scarperi, Croda Rossa (2,965 m), Cima Undici (3,092 m), Cima Bagni (2,983 m) ...

Circumnavigating Col Quaterna (2,503 m) from east, we start climbing as soon as we reach Sella del Quaterna (2,379 m) and from there, passing the old trenches, we take the carriage road that descends (500 m drop) gently up to the beautiful Casera Rinfreddo mountain hut. Here a fountain with very cold water offers comfort to our tired feet.

What to know

The Rifugio Rinfreddo is located on the eastern side of the Val Comelico, in the upper Cadore. The administrative division between the municipalities of the valley goes back to the tradition of the centena, the territorial subdivision typical of the peoples of Northern Europe. In fact, the valley suffered the invasion of various barbarian populations, who settled in Italy around the V century.

Cadore geographically corresponds to the hydrographic basin of the upper Piave, from Carnia to Cortina D'Ampezzo. The Magnifica Comunità di Cadore boasts strong autonomy since the time of its alliance with the Serenissima (14th century).

An example of this is the still existing institution of the 16 Regole Cadorine (Cadorine rules) of the territorial communities formed by local families. They are the juridical entity in charge of managing (through their own legal entities) the forest and farming resources of the valleys. They are considered inalienable, indivisible, and not affected by usucapion common good; at the same time, they contribute to the protection of the environment and cultural roots.

Established in the 12th century, the Rules were abolished by the Kingdom of Italy; luckily nowadays they have been reconstituted thanks to regional law. The title of regoliere is male-lineage transmitted but in recent times, some Rules have also allowed female-lineage transmission. To be eligible for the title of regoliere a family must have lived in the area for 80-100 years.

What to see

The Palombino ridge is marked by the remains of trenches and tunnels from the Great War.

This area was very important for the Italian front. With its pointed shape, Col Quaterna represented an excellent observation point dominating the underlying vast area. It is possible to ascend quickly (if you still have gas in your legs) from Col Quaterna, following the track that detaches to the right side, near the plaque dedicated to Pope John Paul II.

what to eat

The Rifugio Rinfreddo was originally a casera (shelter for shepherds in the mountain pastures), to whom a double stable was later added to the construction. Even today this is a barn with goats and cows and it is possible to buy excellent typical cheese from the dairy connected to the stable.

The mountain hut canederli with nettles and fresh cabbage is a treat that should not be missed: the nettles are hand-picked by the owner Olga and her helpers. Simply exquisite.

Another dish not to be missed is the casarecce with sausage (the pasta is handmade in the lodge).

where to sleep

Rifugio Casera Rinfreddo, under Col Quaterna and not far from Malga Coltrondo parking lot. Tel. +39 328 114 1655


Malga Coltrondo, about 20 minutes on foot downhill from Rifugio Rinfreddo. Tel. +39 340 491 4101

How to Reach

Starting point reachable by car.

Starting point NOT reachable by bus.

The closest location reachable by bus is Presenaio, departing from Belluno, with a change in Calalzo.

Here is the LINK to check timetables.

Starting point NOT reachable by train.

“The Crode dei Longerin is a sequence of sharp peaks that stand on the detritus mantle in order of height, like pupils in gym class”

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