Rovereto and Vallagarina: the fourth section of The Path of Peace

From Rifugio Damiano Chiesa to Rifugio Achille Papa, passing through Rovereto

The fourth section of the Path of Peace begins and ends at high altitude - from Rifugio Damiano Chiesa to Rifugio Achille Papa - but across its seven stages it descends, ascends and descends several times. It takes you from the summit, with open views of Lake Garda, Vallarsa and the Adige Valley, to the villages of the valley floor, such as Mori, Isera and the larger Rovereto.

The 126 km of this fourth section lead past many of the sites from the Great War fought in this part of Trentino. Trenches, ruins and walkways along the route both reconstruct a memory of the past and create a spirit of peace. You will also encounter huts, green meadows, historical squares and museums. A route to be tackled on foot or, for certain stretches, by mountain bike, yet always embracing the measured and calm pace of mountain trekking.

This section of the Path of Peace can be walked in four days.

Before setting off, we advise you to carefully read the Safety in the Mountains guidance and contact the rifugios in advance to ensure that they are open and have availability for overnight stays.

Sentiero della Pace - Path of Peace: Section 4 | Rovereto and Vallagarina

Stage 1: From Rifugio Damiano Chiesa to Mori

From the summit of Monte Altissimo to the village of Mori there are a good 39 km! A long stage for sure, but one that is almost all downhill, never steep or difficult. If you set off with this in mind, your legs and mind will have no trouble in embarking on the journey.

Along the way, you may see, in flight or at rest, one of the most iconic lepidopterans of the Alpine pastures: Parnassius apollo, a large white butterfly speckled with black and red. Monte Baldo, a precious and rare world home to several endemic botanical species, is the ideal habitat for this butterfly.

Just before Polsa, you will encounter an example of an artificial impluvium, one of the few still observable in its entirety. If you've not come across this term before, it is a large, square stone-paved surface, oblique and suitable for collecting water, filtering it and conveying it to large reservoirs further downstream. This piece of human ingenuity was devised during the Great War to avoid waiting for slow and limited supplies, which would only last for a few days.

After gentle undulations and expansive views, the last remaining section passes through a number of small hamlets before arriving effortlessly at the village of Mori. Visit the various small squares to refill your water bottle with fresh water from the fountains, or choose a bar for a well-deserved refreshment - perhaps a sandwich with local cold cuts and cheese.

Stage 1

From Rifugio Damiano Chiesa to Mori
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Stage 2: From Mori to Ronzo Chienis

The second stage of the fourth section is intense, but varied and stimulating. You regain altitude and reach the summit of Monte Creino, with its generous views and intact remains of trenches and bunkers.

The summit of Monte Creino is home to some of the best-preserved trenches of the entire Path of Peace, observatories and sections of large living quarters. Although at natural risk of collapse, these places are open and explorable.

After visiting this painful monuments of the past, the second stage ends in Ronzo Chienis, Val di Gresta. This small valley is “the vegetable garden of Trentino”.  Garda's mild climate reaches all the way up here, allowing wheat and vegetables to be grown at unusual altitudes. Here, sustainable agriculture has been practised for at least eighty years, since the establishment of a local agricultural consortium that focuses on both the quality of the products and the bank balance of the local farmers.

Stage 2

From Mori to Ronzo Chienis
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Sentiero della Pace - Path of Peace: Section 4 | Rovereto and Vallagarina

Stage 3: From Ronzo Chienis to Rovereto

On the third stage of the fourth section you climb from Ronzo Chienis to the summit of Monte Biaena, and then down to the valley floor.

The hills of Isera are festooned with vineyards. The most characteristic wine produced in Isera is the fruity Marzemino, one of the finest wines in Trentino and mentioned in Mozart's Don Giovanni. In Isera, the bridge over the Adige symbolically marks the first half of the Path of Peace.

The third stage ends in Rovereto, the “City of Peace”. The city is home to wonderful museums, such as the Mart, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto, the Italian War History Museum, and the Futurist Depero Art House.

Stage 3

From Ronzo Chienis to Rovereto
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Stage 4: From Rovereto to Rifugio Monte Zugna

The fourth stage is short but intense. From the centre of Rovereto, ascend to Rifugio Monte Zugna.

At the start of the route it is recommended to take a small detour to take a closer look at the Campana dei Caduti bell on the Colle di Miravalle. Cast in bronze from the cannons of the countries that fought in the First World War, its 100 chimes sing a universal message of peace every evening.

There is no let-up to the climb which continues up to Monte Zugna. When the forest opens the beautiful Vallarsa with the buttresses of Monte Corno Battisti and the cusp of Monte Cornetto come into view. Continuing, you will pass the remains of the "Trincerone", the Italian defence line during the Great War, where the Austro-Hungarian offensive known as the Strafexpedition broke through in the spring of 1916.

Rifugio Monte Zugna is located a pleasant clearing. Before lunch (the polenta with mushrooms is highly recommended), the green meadows overlooking the Adige Valley are the best place to recover from the fatigue of the climb.

Stage 4

From Rovereto to Rifugio Monte Zugna
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Sentiero della Pace - Path of Peace: Section 4 | Rovereto and Vallagarina

Stage 5: From Rifugio Monte Zugna to Rifugio Fraccaroli

This stage is splendid, demanding just the right amount of effort and rewarding with superb views. The ascent of the rugged Val di Gatto with the Carega opens the doors to the Piccole Dolomiti - the so-called Little Dolomites.

From June to August, the section between Passo Buole and Rifugio Fraccaroli abounds with blooming edelweiss, a flower that symbolises the rugged beauty of the mountains. The Austrian and German armies considered the edelweiss a symbol of military valour and embroidered it on their lapel badges. At the War Museum in Rovereto, in the room dedicated to the First World War, look up at the Karlsbluse of the 25th High Mountain Company of the Austro-Hungarian Army. You will see a delicate metallic edelweiss adorning the grey collar of a sniper's jacket.

Rifugio Fraccaroli, the final destination of this fifth stage, is just below the Carega peak, a beautiful spot at sunset or sunrise which, on clear days, even allows a glimpse of the Adriatic.

Stage 5

From Rifugio Monte Zugna to Rifugio Fraccaroli
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Stage 6: From Rifugio Fraccaroli to Rifugio Achille Papa

On this mainly downhill stage, the section at the foot of the Sengio Alto group, the chain of the Piccole Dolomiti with the Cornetto tower, is not to be missed. Experienced hikers can walk the spectacular ridge for a more technical and challenging variant.

At the foot of Monte Cornetto, at the vast pastures of Malga Boffetal, you will find the "Bovetal Boulder Park", a vast area of erratic boulders of various sizes suitable for bouldering - a form of rock climbing that tackles short routes on boulders or short cliffs. These immense rolling stones are the perfect place to make your first forays into this peaceful sport.

Before arriving at Rifugio Achille Papa, it is worth taking the time to enjoy the scenery and explore the nearby Strada delle 52 Gallerie, a true marvel of military engineering. The construction of the road tunnel through the Pasubio by the Italian army is an internationally recognised for the complexity of the undertaking and the effectiveness of the results.

Stage 6

From Rifugio Fraccaroli to Rifugio Achille Papa
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Sentiero della Pace - Path of Peace: Section 4 | Rovereto and Vallagarina

Stage 7: From Rifugio Achille Papa to Rifugio Lancia

The last stage of the fourth section of the Path of Peace is very short, very pleasant, of great historical significance and high emotional impact. The route, which leads through the Dente Italiano and Dente Austriaco, the Italian and Austrian “teeth” and crosses bomb and mine craters, offers a first-hand insight into the tragedy of war.

On the summit of the Dente Austriaco, turn towards the Italian line: “... the upheaval of the Dente Italiano is so unnatural and the boulders so thrown up by the explosion continue to defy the laws of gravity that, if the fog is complicit, it will look like the mine has just exploded.” (from La Grande Guerra e Il Sentiero della Pace – Claudio Fabbro)

Stage 7

From Rifugio Achille Papa to Rifugio Lancia
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Published on 16/04/2024