Via Ferrata and First World War Routes

Between the trenches of the First World War

Hiking in the San Pellegrino Pass is characterised by its trenches, making it an emotional journey where history and nature come together. These paths stir your emotions as you walk where Austrian and Italian soldiers once fought. It is not difficult to find historical artifacts, especially food tins and barbed wire, and sometimes spent bullets and other everyday items.

If you love adventure, don’t forget that you need the appropriate equipment to access the climbing routes: boots, a harness and a helmet. You can ask the local alpine guides who organise excursions about hiring suitable equipment. Here are some climbing routes:

  • Alta Via Bepi Zac – this is one of the first routes to introduce children to climbing. From the San Pellegrino Pass you can either walk or take the chair lift to the Selle Pass. You then need to go right on the steep uphill path 637 until you arrive at the climbing route. The first part is easy, taking you to the Forcella Ciadin and from there you can walk back down through the meadows. The journey time varies greatly depending on how long you spend visiting the military posts. The more highly trained and technically capable climbers can carry on up to the Fuciade refuge.
  • Alta Via Federspiel – recommended only for equipped climbers who are technically capable of tackling sections which are very exposed at times. From the San Pellegrino Pass you can either walk or take the chair lift to the Selle Pass. Take path 616 on the left and carry on along the trenches of the Great War. Once you have arrived at the Forcella Ricoletta, you can decide whether to continue along the climbing route or head down towards Moena. If you continue, you reach the Cima Malinverno summit, the Forcella della Costella and you finally head back down to Moena. This demanding hiking route takes approximately 7 hours.
  • Alta Via Mariotta – the best way is to take the Col Margherita cable car up from the San Pellegrino Pass. Path 658 on the left takes you to the climbing route, which is along the First World War barracks, on the Italo-Austrian side. This route has panoramic views, ups and downs, leading to the steep ridge down to the Juribrutto summit. Now you head down to the Forcella Juribrutto and can decide whether to return straight back to the San Pellegrino Pass or carry on to climb the Cima Bocche summit.

Among the itineraries that witness to the history of the First World War in San Pellegrino Pass, a war of position between Italians and Austrians, that was the conquest of the mountains that at that time served as a border between States, we report a couple below:

  • Fango and Ricoleta Gallery: in the Fango area (in Ladin language ‘L Fanch‘) there was the second Austrian defensive line. Unfortunately, today the real trenches are no longer visible because they were buried immediately after the Great War. However, a tunnel which has become traceable to this first line of entrenchments has recently been identified. It is a very simple path with minimum difference in level in about 2 and a half hours;
  • Galleries of Colifon: starting from San Pellegrino Pass, the ascent is possible on foot or shortening the path of about half an hour using the chairlift Costabella. From here continue to the left taking as a reference the trailers wrapped by barbed wire until you reach the Italian outposts where you can still admire the positions of the machine guns and war tunnels. The descent is possible through the Italian mule track, still in good condition, which was used by Italian soldiers during the war years.

Consult and download here  the map with the itineraries of the Great War in Val di Fassa.