This walk draws a loop in the middle of the so-called “Sentiero Etnografico del Vanoi” (tr. ethnographic route of the Valley of Vanoi): a network of paths extending from the village of Caoria up to the hut of Malga Vesnòta de sóra (1879 m asl). The loop develops clockwise along the path marked as “Sentiero dei Pradi”, around the meadows of Pradi de Tognòla, in the valley of Valsórda, more commonly known as Masi di Tognòla, which are perhaps one of the most evocative and historically relevant places in the entire Valley of Vanoi. The route features a unique environment, due to its combination of agro-pastoral, historical and natural contexts.
The walk starts from the bridge of Pònt de Stél (1,215 m asl), that can be also approached by car (or, who not, simply walking) by following the partially paved road that starts from the village of Caoria (845 m), near the church, for about 5 km. After crossing the bridge over the stream of Rio Valsórda, the first section of the route follows the gravel road towards the west, along the stream of Rio Valzànca, towards the hut of Malga Fossernica di Fuori. Already visible from the start, a hundred meters after crossing the bridge you get, in the location of Pian de la siéga, by the ancient Venetian sawmill (called Siéga de Valzànca). The building is a multistage hydraulic sawmill still operational and occasionally open to the public, completely renovated in 2002 by the natural park of Paneveggio Pale di San Martino. In the past, thousands of cubic meters of timber flowed every year along the streams of Vanoi and Cismón directly to Venice, with the purpose of building ships for the Serenissima (Republic of Venice). The lumber was conveyed by the lumberjacks on icy gullies which, although dangerous, made it possible to efficiently transport the logs from the steep shores of the Valley of Vanoi downstream.
After passing the sawmill, the trail keeps following the gravel road for about another 200 meters, until it reaches a crossroads, where the track leaves the main road to take, on the right to the east, a path that climbs into the forest towards the location of Masi di Tognòla. The path leads, in half a kilometer, to the meadows called Pradi de Tognòla (1,219 m asl), after having crossed the meadows of Prà dei Andeloi and Maso Prà dei Tassi (1,134 m asl), in a stretch of the promenade that offers numerous sights to the south west over the Massif of Cima d’Asta, with the peaks of Mezzogiorno (1,940 m asl) – called “Zìma de Mododì” (tr. peak of the midday – because it is located south of the town of Caoria and used by the coriòti (tr. people from Caoria) as a natural clock -, Conte Mòro (2,405 m asl) and Col de la Crós (2,433 m asl).
Pradi de Tognòla is an exceptional seasonal rural settlement maintained in excellent condition, which seems to have been populated since the 16th century. Unlike other settlements, the “casère” (tr. huts) of the Pradi de Tognòla are very close together, with common services such as the fountain and the drinking trough, forming a shape of a small village. All buildings are built in wood, with the exception of the foundations, and their structure is interlocking without any additional fastening elements.
From Pradi de Tognòla, the route continues flat on the main path, following the contour, towards the bridge called Pònt de Gioréto, also built over the stream of Rio Valsórda. After crossing the bridge, the second part of the itinerary begins, immersed in the forest called Bósc de la Fiamena; a forest of fir and larch trees, historically in the area with the most valuable quality of the Valley of Vanoi. The itinerary proceeds in the forest on a steady but never too steep climb and allows you to reach (in about 10-15 minutes) a viewpoint from which a beautiful window opens onto the farmhouses of Pradi di Tognòla.
The path continues for a final uphill stretch towards the south and leads to the highest point of the route (about 1,310 m asl); from here the walk begins to descend to return to Pònt de Stél. After about 400 meters downhill and after passing the crossroads that leads to the meadows of Casói de la Fiàmena (1,340 m asl), you reach a crossroads from which you take a track on the right. heading north, which descends towards Pònt de Stél. The itinerary crosses a last beautiful meadow with farmhouses, before returning to the bridge over the stream of Rio Valsórda (i.e. Pònt de Stél).
- From the bridge called Pònt de Stél (1,215 m asl), located 5 km far from the village Caoria, take the gravel road towards Malga Fossernica di Fuori, which passes alongside the old sawmill named Siéga de Valzànca,
- At the crossroads, 200 m from Siéga de Valzànca, take the path to the right, heading east, towards Pradi de Tognòla,
- From the meadows of Pradi de Tognòla (1,219 m asl), continue on the path towards Pònt de Gioréto,
- From the bridge called Pònt de Gioréto, ascend along the path in the forest towards Fiàmena / Pònt de Stél,
- From the highest point of the route (about 1,310 m asl), start the descent; after passing the crossroads of Casói de la Fiàmena, at the following crossroads, take the path to the right, heading north, returning to Pònt de Stél. ✓
- Ecomuseo Vanoi: https://www.ecomuseo.vanoi.it/