Via dei Todesch
An historic view of Valle del Chiese: Austrians built five strongholds to prevent Italian soldiers from infiltrating North. Let's discover them!
It has an unusual name: Via dei Todesch, which could be translated as Street of the Todesch ‒ pronounced “Todesk”. What could it possibly mean? “Todesch” is a term of the local vernacular, which people from Valle del Chiese use to indicate German-speaking individuals - Tedeschi, in standard Italian. Therefore, the whole expression literally means “Street of the Germans” ‒ or rather “Street of the Austrians”. It may be due to the presence of five Austrian strongholds in Valle del Chiese, built to prevent Italian soldiers from infiltrating North from either side of the valley.
The gravel road called Via dei Todesch was used by Austrian soldiers to spy on their Italian counterpart during World War I. This stretch of uneven land just beyond the border must have seemed a perfect hiding spot, from where to watch while remaining unseen.
Today, the road is almost forgotten, unsignalled, and largely ignored by cartographers, who rarely bother marking it on their maps. This makes it perfect for bikers, as they are free to ride every inch of it without bans or restrictions. The best thing about this tour, however, is that it offers 15 km of smooth flow-trail with spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.