In Germany, neither the Lagorai mountains nor the Valsugana Valley are particularly well known. In any case, I always get questioning looks when I explain where I was hiking last week. The mountain range and the valley below is one of the loneliest hiking destinations Italy has to offer. Yet the area is quite easy to reach by bus and train from Trento or Venice.

Among other trails, the Sentiero della Pace, the Peace Trail, cuts through the area. The trail runs along the front line of the 1st World War through a large part of the Italian alps. I walked the trail with my group from Caldonazzo to Passo Rolle – in 7 days. After the big storm in 2018, the Sentiero has been open again since last fall. The routes are technically easy (except for one part), but quite demanding in terms of fitness.

We set off from Caldonazzo in the best – and hottest – weather. And the very first stage is demanding: with 1,200 meters of altitude in ascent and a largely south-western orientation. We reach the destination for the day rather exhausted. Fortunately, we spend the night at the nif, which is actually more of a gourmet restaurant or an upscale bar during the day. However, there are also luxurious rooms – and a great breakfast, where no wishes remain unfulfilled, everything is lovingly served at the table – delicious!

Thus strengthened, nothing more can go wrong on the following days. We climb on of the nearby mountains (with a lovely view of Lake Garda and Valsugana), spend the nights in simple rifuges and hotels and enjoy the hearty cuisine of Trentino. Everywhere we encounter a particularly warm hospitality. And we learn that the Sentiero della Pace is rarely walked: never by large groups, often single hikers or couples are on the road.

We also notice this while we are on the trail. Only one family is walking the same sections of the trails. Often we don’t see anybody for hours.

On day 5, the terrain even becomes pathless for a long time – excellently marked, but just without a path. So we advance only at a snail’s pace. On a boulder field with a fresh rockslide even the markings are buried. But with calm and thoughtfulness we master this, too – and after what feels like an eternity we arrive in Caoria after a total of 23 km. The excellent food there (it feels like the whole village eats dinner at Al Pin) compensates for the exhausting trail.

Unfortunately, the weather is only partially kind to us towards the end of the tour: Dense clouds envelop the Pala. Nevertheless, the path from Caoria to San Martino di Castrozza and on to Passo Rolle is beautiful – and at the very end, at the end of the tour, the sun does come through and the characteristic Dolomite peaks show themselves from their best side.

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