Stage

From one story to the next

  • 1 day
  • April, May, June, July, August
  • Experience food and wine, Great War

Among pastures and woods, where a strong and brave sailor fought his last battle.  Among unexpected and surprising missiles aimed at the sky and at world peace.  Among walls of concrete and steel, inside the rock, where you can still hear the roar of cannons. 


1

First stage – Malga Zonta and the missiles of Base Tuono

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There is a story that many know and few will tell.  It is the story of Bruno, the Sailor, who fled from the deck of his ship in August 1944 and landed at Malga Zonta, among the firs of the Altopiano di Folgaria. Those were difficult times.  Bruno was not alone, there were  thirteen other friends with him, all determined to fight for their own freedom and the freedom of their country.  It all happened in a few hours, the Germans surrounding the mountain dairy where they had taken refuge, the gunfight and then the shooting, for all of them. In front of the building that saw them fall there is absolute silence. Actually, here you can just hear the wind blowing.  But if you raise your eyes you cannot miss them, the missiles aimed at the sky. They are right there, just a few hundred metres away.  What are three missiles doing on a launchpad in the middle of pastures and woods? They too are here to tell a story. It is the story of a NATO missile base that in these places, between the ‘60s and ‘70s, wrote a chapter in one war that was fortunately never fought, the Cold War!  What is now left of that base is Base Tuono, a museum.  If you go through the gates you will find an unusual atmosphere, a truly unexpected world, and suddenly realize how close it may have been, that war that was fortunately never fought!  Not far away, at Passo Coe, you should stop at Osteria Coe  (www.passocoe.it). Before you go in, look around, look at the horizon: those mountains have all a story to tell.  And not just about mountain people, or grazing cows and sheep.  They are stories of nearly a century ago, when these peaks were the theatre of terrible fights during World War I.  If you go up there you will still see the wounds, the trenches, the grenade craters.  But cheer up!  Go into the Osteria and talk to Christian, the young man who runs it.   Do not ask him about the wars that fired up these places, ask him rather what will be on the table today!  Ask him about that canederli trio that you heard so much about, or the polenta with mountain cheese and mushrooms.  They are the house speciality!

2

Second stage – Between concrete and steel.... ...to then end up at Carlo’s!

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From Passo Coe, return to Folgaria and then head towards the Altopiano di Lavarone, just a 7.5 mile drive. And when you are there, on the Altopiano that Freud loved (he used to come here on holiday), go and look for  Forte Belvedere, the Museum Fort. War again?  Yes, war again, and this time we are really talking about World War I, the war that in 1915 forced the people of the Altipiani to flee and spend three long, endless years in refugee camps.  The fort is a real gem of military architecture.  You get the strongest impression when you go inside and slip into the deep underground passageways leading to the advanced posts.  These are places where you feel you will never be able to get out again!  Or when you enter the armoured domes and hear, as if by magic, the sounds, voices and noises of the gun crew who loaded the howitzer and fired it... or when you stop in front of the plastic animated model where images and lights appear out of the blue to tell you what happened within these walls, what happened to the poor soldiers who fought here...  If, however, you climb up to the cover, your heart opens up and so does a vast view. Immediately below, beyond the moat, is Val d'Astico.  That is where the Italian border used to be, there the Kingdom of Italy used to start.  And if you look a little further, you will see the Altopiano di Luserna, the land of the Cimbri people... but that is definitely another story!

As you retrace your steps, you cannot help passing by Cappella, one of the Lavarone built-up areas.  And you cannot miss  Hotel Al Cervo, - not so much the hotel, as the restaurant. It is a typical Trentino Osteria, a truly charming place.  Ask for Carlo.  Carlo used to be, quite a while ago now, the youngest major in Italy.  Even the newspapers talked about it!  He is now a hotelier and he takes care of the restaurant with his various brothers.  Many are the specialities he can recommend, like polenta panzerotti (turnovers) with saffron and crispy bacon, or tagliatelle with penny buns or Teroldego wine, or larded deer fillet, or even the very tasty cheese platter, that here, in the homeland of the Vézzena cheese, is nearly a must...  Come on, book a table!  And while you wait for dinnertime, squeeze in a visit to a museum in Chiesa, not far away - a museum quite unique in its kind, dedicated to honey  (www.museodelmiele.it), Museo del Miele in fact! There you will meet Amelio.  Amelio grew up among the bees. Let him guide you. He will take you downstairs, and show you ancient beehives from distant places and ever more distant times.  And if you have children with you, he will make them play in the teaching area, to discover the mysterious and incredible life of bees!  Or he will make them taste chocohoney, a luscious mix of chocolate and honey and, as for you.... well, he will offer you one of his delicious liqueurs, based on honey of course! 

Your day finally comes to an end and it is time to go back to the Al Cervo restaurant.  Enjoy the scrumptious dishes and, when you are finished with your dinner and, to top it all, you also had strudel or berries, ask Carlo to sit down with you.  Taste a Moscato grappa with him and ask him to tell you a story. Ask him to tell you the story of the two brothers who used to own some lush woodland in Lavarone but did not want to divide it between them and so they had a big row... you will hear quite a story!