This stage has been documented thanks to the contribution of Giovanni Furlanetto.
A long stage in Alta Badia, mostly with a downhill gradient, very aerial and panoramic.
After an engaging experience in the Lagazuoi war tunnels, we walk in front of the immense Marmolada glacier (with its 3,343 m, it is the "Queen of the Dolomites") and the rocky wall that distinguishes the Sella group: a joy for the eyes.
The first part of the route (from Rifugio Lagazuoi to the Falzarego Pass) is a variation of the Sentiero Italia (which goes down the path from Forcella Travenanzes). It is a stretch preferred for the extreme historical interest of the military tunnels and the power of the experience - highly recommended.
Military tunnels are completely dark, cold, and humid. It is, therefore, necessary to have a jacket, a front torch (the helmet is recommended). Given the slope and slipperiness of the stone steps, there is almost always a steel cable on the side. You need to bend often because of the low ceiling. This stretch is not recommended for those suffering from claustrophobia.
While walking on the rocks along the north side of the Setsas, the path is not always evident and you have to look for the trail signs.
We leave the Lagazuoi mountain hut and, passing under the nearby cable car, we take the equipped path that leads to the tunnels. Shortly after passing some trenches, we find the entrance and begin the descent (approximately 750 m drop). The tunnels are dark and often steep: sometimes there are observation points in the wall. Along the way, we meet the mine rooms and dormitories. Finally, we return to the open air and continue to lose altitude until Passo Falzarego (2,105 m).
We take the path skirting the asphalted road from below and, along the northern slopes of Sas de Stria, we advance in ups and downs to Forte Tre Sassi (museum of the Great War). We move away from the road and descend towards the old Austrian fortifications. With a wide loop, we approach Lake Valparola but instead of continuing along the pass of the same name, we take a left turn (with a U-curve) and go up (about 100 m height difference) towards the northern side of Settsass (2,571 m), that we cross with ups and downs. North stands the Conturines group.
Going up the north ridge, we slowly lose altitude towards the west and the panorama opens up: south-east we admire the immense Marmolada glacier, the Queen of the Dolomites (3,343 m). The path becomes wider and we walk for a long time on the ridge - west the Sassongher (2,665 m) and the Sella group, dominated by Piz Boè (3,152 m).
After Stores, we arrive at Rifugio Pralongià: we continue on a comfortable road southwards and arrive at Utia La Marmotta. With a short climb through wide meadows, we reach Rifugio Cherz and from there we descend (about 200 m drop) along the road that runs alongside the ski slopes. Once on the road, we walk southwards and we are soon at Passo di Campolongo (1,875 m).
Walking on an easy path, along the main road, we descend (about 200 m drop) to Arabba, a hamlet of Livinallongo: our last stop in Veneto.
Passo Falzarego owes its name to the legend of the False King of the Fanes kingdom. Among the traditional Nordic tales, the complex saga of the Kingdom of the Fanes is the only one taking place on the Italian territory: it tells the stories of the people who inhabited the Fanes plateau and who were betrayed and sold by the King (later turned into stone).
In the saga, the daughter of the False King, Dolasilla is one of the leading characters of the tragic adventure, which ends with her sad death. Today she is a very present figure in the local folklore (as testified by the many hotels or restaurants named after her).
During the First World War, the so-called City of Ice was built in the Marmolada glacier: 12 km of tunnels complete with kitchens, canteens, infirmaries, radio rooms, and everything you need in a military camp.
The project by the Austrian engineer Leo Handl, allowed soldiers of the Empire to have both a shelter against the harsh winter temperatures and a covered corridor to easily pass from one side to the other of the front.
The inhabitants of Arabba are also called Fodomi. From the Ladin word fodom, which seems to indicate the presence of beech trees in the Livinallongo del Col di Lana area.
Fodom is also the name of the local musical band, very popular among young people, active in revitalizing traditional music.
Arabba is today a renowned ski resort within the Dolomiti Superski area. Here passes the Sellaronda, the ski tour of the Sella massif (using the ski lifts): it is probably the most renowned ski tour of the Dolomites and the Italian Alps.
Not far from the Valparola Pass is the Forte Tre Sassi, which was part of the series of fortifications and barriers of the Yellow Line, on the Italian border.
The fort, which hosted about fifty soldiers of the Austrian Empire, was bombed by Italian troops in 1915 and immediately abandoned by the Austro-Hungarians, who continued to illuminate it, inducing the Italians to continue the attack, assuming that the fort was still operational and thus wasting time and ... money. It was calculated that the cost of the ammunition used to bomb the fort was greater than the amount spent on the fort itself!
Today it houses the Museum of the Great War, which hosts a collection of war remains found in the area. All around there are still trenches and tunnels. For more info, timetables and tickets, follow the LINK.
The Museum of the Great War, in Passo Pordoi, was created thanks to the war findings of the "recuperanti", enthusiasts who love to walk in search of war remains, of which the mountains around Arabba are full. The area was devastated by 29 consecutive months of fierce fighting.
For more info, timetables and tickets, follow the LINK.
The pride of Arabba and its inhabitants is the gentian grappa: producers compete in order to extract the greatest bitterness from the root of the flower. A real challenge for strong palates, and at the same time an excellent digestive.
The gentian plant owes its name to Genzio, the last king of the Illyrians (ancient people of the Western Balkans) who, according to the testimony of Pliny the Elder, was the first to discover the therapeutic virtues of the root.
Bec de Roces refuge, half an hour walk from the Campolongo Pass. Tel. +39 0436 79193
Rifugio Plan Boè, half an hour walk from Arabba. Tel. +39 0436 79339
Hotel Olympia, in Arabba. Tel. +39 0436 79135
In Arabba there are numerous accommodation facilities (hotels, guest houses).
Starting point NOT reachable by car.
The closest location reachable by car is Passo Falzarego.
Starting point NOT reachable by bus.
The closest location reachable by bus is Passo Falzarego, departing from the city of Belluno with a change in Calalzo and Cortina d’Ampezzo.
Here is the LINK to check timetables.
Starting point NOT reachable by train.
Va' Sentiero is a grassroot project, thanks to the spontaneous contribution oft housands of people.
Even the most complicated dream, a 7,000km uphill dream,
can be achieved... together.