Passo della Morte (Pass of Death) - Tour nr. 1805
Pass of Death: what a name! It sounds as if this place was so dangerous to put at risk the life of a quiet biker. Nothing of the kind, considering that Passo della Morte can be reached via a common dirt road. The downhill trail descending from the pass indeed is a little more demanding, though still fit for all bikers.
The origin of the name is completely different and dates back to a time when no road ran through the gorge of Limarò, hence the necessity for wayfarers to go this solitary route - well above the level of the gorge - to overcome the pass leading from Toblino to Comano. As a legend has it, the Earl of Castel Toblino had desperately fallen in love with the beautiful gentlewoman dwelling Stenico Castle, located in Comano valley. In order to ask for her hand he had to overcome this pass and right there he got treacherously killed by a jealous rival in love.
It is anyway quite unlikely that, once reached Passo della Morte, bikers will have to face a similar destiny. This tour is very enjoyable and packed with attractive points instead.
After the departure from Ponte Arche, an uphill road with little traffic takes to the village of Comano, where a beautiful view on Val d’Ambiez and Brenta Dolomites can be enjoyed. Right outside the village a dirt uphill road departs and takes to Passo della Morte via a gentle ascent offering an uninterrupted view of Comano valley.
The view from Passo della Morte is not particularly scenic by itself. Here and there, along the gravel road, the biker's gaze falls on the gorge of river Sarca. Emotions definitely get the better a little further on, when, once inside the forest, the tour leads down into the gorge below, getting therefore steeper and more technically demanding.
"Bicycle path" is a definition that may conceive a sense of boredom, but this absolutely isn't the case of this old road running along the gorge that river Sarca crosses in this place known as "Limarò". This road had been laboriously excavated during the 1920s and, after a sequence of tunnels were digged to shorten the main road destined to motor vehicles, this road was converted into a bicycle path. Thanks to the sensational glimpses of the depths of Gorge of Limarò it provides, this bicycle path may certainly be considered as one of the most attractive in Europe. At approximately halfway bikers are given a chance to refresh with the local specialties served by Maso Limarò, an ancient building once used as farmstead, recently restored and now operating as Agritur (farmhouse). At the end of the bicycle path, bikers shall keep pedaling along the main road, take a trail on the right, and descend a steep downhill road leading to Ponte Balandin, a bridge dating back to the Roman era.
The gorge of Limarò/Sarca can be nowadays traversed on a new steel bridge, approximately 100 meters away from the Roman one. An uphill stretch along a quite steep trail towards Villa Banale is followed by a downhill stretch reaching Ponte Arche via a pleasant, narrow road that crosses the forest and offers beatiful glimpses on Comano valley.