The Path of Peace

A 495 km route along the front line of the Great War

“But you know that if you came by this way a hundred years ago, you wouldn't hear all this silence. This is where the canons fired!'.  Our guide Roberto shows me the ruins of a Great War fort perched on a rocky spur. I stop to catch my breath after the long climb. The fresh mountain air, the gentle rustle of the wind across the meadows. A feeling of peace. It is hard to imagine that here, in what today is such a peaceful place, boys my age wearing different coloured uniforms once killed each other.

That is why the Path of Peace is so much more than a long walk. It is a journey through history. A 495-kilometre-long itinerary that crosses Trentino from Passo del Tonale to the Marmolada, revisiting the sites that were once the setting of the Great War. This was a war fought in snow and ice by soldiers of the Kingdom of Italy and those of the Austro-Hungarian Empire during the First World War.

Fortresses, old military roads, trenches and fortifications from a century ago, yet also (and above all) vibrant forests, babbling streams, quiet mountains and peaceful valleys, where the gaze becomes lost in verdant fields where herds of livestock graze.

The Path of Peace | Il Sentiero della Pace

Path of Peace from Val di Sole to Val di Fassa

Seven sections, broken into thirty-five stages: to walk the entire length would take more than 30 days, an excellent level of fitness, and deep knowledge of the mountains, especially in the high-altitude stages such as those through the Val di Sole and the Brenta Dolomites.

Much of the Path of Peace is signed by the dove symbol to guide hikers along the way, but it is always good practice to study the route carefully and, most importantly, to follow the Safety in the Mountains guidance. In any case, it is recommended to walk the route from late spring to autumn.

Before setting off, remember to contact the rifugio wardens to be sure they are open, as well as to get information on the condition of the trails and the weather. For more information, you can also contact the local tourist offices or the SAT (Società Alpinisti Tridentini).

The Path of Peace | Il Sentiero della Pace

From Schaumann to today: 50 years of history

The idea to create hiking trails amid the ruins of the Great War along the Eastern Alpine front dates back to 1973 and was the brainchild of the Austrian Walther Schaumann, who invited the association “Amici delle Dolomiti - Vie della Pace” and numerous volunteers to join his project.

Between 1986 and 1996, the Autonomous Province of Trento created the Path of Peace, which crosses the whole of Trentino from the Lombardy and Veneto borders. The project was led by engineer Claudio Fabbro, author of the book “La Grande Guerra e il Sentiero della Pace” (Reverdito Editore, 2016).

In the summer of 2023, the Province and Trentino Marketing commissioned the Va' Sentiero team to carry out a recce of the Path of Peace aimed at testing its viability, assessing the need for any variants to make the route easier, and producing a hiking guide.

The genesis of the Path of Peace

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The Path of Peace | Il Sentiero della Pace

Pre-departure tips

In some cases, such as the routes along the Lagorai mountains, the itinerary identified by Va' Sentiero deviates significantly from the normal route. If you choose to walk that stretch, please study the route carefully.

In addition, the first two sections present high technical difficulties that may not be within the capabilities of all visitor. For this reason, in our guide on VisitTrentino we have not gone into detail about these sections, preferring to start from the third section onwards. We refer you to the Trentino Grande Guerra website for a complete read of the route.

The Path of Peace | Il Sentiero della Pace
Published on 16/05/2024