This historical itinerary on the mountain range of Lagorai crosses what has been, between 1916 and 1917, one of the theaters of the War of Mines between the royal and the imperial armies: the Buse de Oro (aka Buse dell’Oro). Located to the west of the beautiful peaks of the Pala Group, between the summit of Colbricón Piccolo and the valley of Travignolo, on the edge of the forest of Paneveggio, the marshes of Buse de Oro today hardly seem to remember their past; nevertheless, where nature has not yet entirely taken back the remains of the old imperial barracks, it is still possible to have an idea of how they could appear over 100 years ago, on the WWI front line, where human engineering skills were used to fight both the enemies and this rather hostile environment. The hike draws a relatively simple loop and runs along a stretch of the path called “Sentiero della Pace” (tr. path of peace – a trail in historical memory marked by the black eagle signs). The areas the trail crosses at its highest part are anything but popular; for this reason it is recommended to take with you either a map or a GPS device.
The starting point is located near the parking lot which is located about three kilometers from Passo Rolle, descending towards Val Travignolo on the SS 50. From the parking lot (about 1,620 m asl), where there is a memorial stone from the 13th Bersaglieri – which in July 1916 passed through these places while heading towards Cima Colbricón -, the route begins by taking the flat gravel road towards Malga Colbricón / Rifugio Laghi di Colbricón. The road leads, in about half hour, to the hut of Malga Colbricón. After crossing the stream of Rio di Valbòna in the middle of the wooded environment offered by the forest of Colbricón, along the climb the route comes across a second stone that commemorates the victims of the explosion of a Great War bomb, which happened in 1926 during the post-war demining operations. A very last stretch on the mule track leads you directly to the pastures of the (Ex) Malga Colbricón, from where the view opens wide towards the opposite summits of the Pala Group, with the stunning peak of Cimón de la Pala.
Once at Malga Colbricón (1,838 m asl), the trail continues until it reaches the crossroads at the edge of the pasture, where a sign points towards Buse dell’Oro, to the right. From the crossroads, the route then continues on the “Sentiero della Pace” towards Buse dell’Oro, initially on the track that goes up by cutting the slope and then on a old mule track (not always well signposted) which climbs steadily in an extremely wild and marshy environment.
From the first remains of military entrenchments, visible directly from the mule track, the route descends slightly until it reaches the beautiful marshy basin of Buse dell’Oro, which turns upstream on the Colbricón Piccolo and Ceremana peaks. After crossing the basin and passing the bridge over the stream of Rio Buse dell’Oro (2,015 m asl), a very last uphill stretch in the woods on a barely visible but obvious track leads, in just under 300 meters, directly to the so called Baito Buse dell’Oro (2,045 m asl), a wooden cottage used as a bivouac.
About these places, this is what Dolf Kickel, of the IX Gebirsbrigade, wrote in 1916 in his diary: “The Italian artillery is nestled among the rocks at Passo Rolle and from that place they fire hostile shells, which whistle strangely in the air, along their trajectories above the valley and the hills. […] The trenches stretch through the pleasant, wild and romantic beauty of nature, disturbing the holy peace with their mere presence. Below us, in the middle of the hamlet of Paneveggio, squeezed between the few houses, the hostile trenches wind its way with its insufficient, poor shelters in the ground. […] From the ‘Buse dell’Oro’ up to the so-called ‘Nose’, from the peaks of the big to the little Colbricon, not far from the crest of the one of Ceremana that lies on the other side, both armies are facing each other, far less than a shot of a hand grenades and in outposts dug deep into the rocky ground, consisting mostly of natural shelters and piled stones. In this place, the steadfast nerves of surveillance and war actions are the song of the front day and night. The magnificent game of colors on the impressive peak of Cimon della Pala has paled.”
From the cottage, the path returns to the bridge, just before which, on the left, it is possible to see what remains of the mule track that led from the plateau of Ceremana to Buse dell’Oro (inaccessible, but still reported in many maps), certainly for the time it was built an impressive engineering work of the imperial genius. From the bridge, the track proceeds to the left, descending on a track (barely visible in its first meters) that follows the course of the stream of Rio Buse dell’Oro towards Pùlesi / Paneveggio. The Signpost No. L18 descends with its wide bends and its constant slope the southern shores of Val Travignolo, at the base of which lies the lake of Paneveggio. At the next crossroads, proceed to the right, towards E, always along the Signpost No. L18 towards Paneveggio / Pùlesi; in a short time, beyond the vegetation you begin to glimpse the lake, which you then skirt at high altitude until you reach the equipped parking lot at the location of Pùlesi. Once at Pùlesi (1,465 m asl), from where the artificial basin begins, the trail proceeds towards Paneveggio / Sentiero Marciò along the comfortable gravel road which, between meadows from which it is possible to see the hamlet of Paneveggio on the left and stretches in the forest, shortly leads to the crossroads that on the left leads to the Tibetan bridge over the stream of Travignòlo. After the crossroads of the Tibetan bridge, the trail continues, always keeping the direction, on the gravel road of Sentiero Marcio; after crossing the bridge over the Rio Colbricón you reach, in a few hundred meters, another crossroads with a wide path that you take to the right towards Passo Rolle, which leads you directly back to the starting point at the Valbòna parking lot. It is possible to shorten the last few hundreds meters of the route by following one of the several tracks that, from the wide curve of the road on the side of the Rio Colbricón, go up into the forest on the side of the stream.
- From the parking lot of Valbona (approx. 1,620 m asl), take the gravel road towards Malga Colbricón / Rifugio Laghi di Colbricón, up to Malga Colbricón,
- From the hut of Malga Colbricón (1,838 m asl), continue until you reach the crossroads at the edge of the pasture, then take the path on the right towards Buse dell’Oro,
- From the grassy basin of Buse dell’Oro (2,015 m asl), go up to the bivouac of Baito Buse dell’Oro,
- From Baito Buse dell’Oro (2,045 m asl), head back to the bridge over the stream of Rio Buse dell’Oro, then proceed left, descending on the track of the Signpost No. L18 towards Pùlesi / Paneveggio,
- From the location of Pùlesi (1,465 m asl), on the shores of the lake of Paneveggio, continue on the easy gravel road towards Paneveggio / Sentiero Marcio, cross the junction with the path that leads to the Tibetan bridge over the stream of Travignolo, then cross the bridge over the stream of Rio Colbricón until you reach at the next crossroads. Turn right and follow the wide path taking you back to the Valbona parking lot. ✓
THE GREAT WAR ON THE COLBRICÓN
- The mountain ridge starting from Colbricón and ending in Passo Rolle, that belongs to the mountain range of Lagorai, was part of the front line during the Great War.
- During the First World War, before Italy joined the conflict in 1915, the peak of Cavallazza was used to be an Austro-Hungarian military outpost. The outpost, with its articulated system of trenches and tunnels, was strategically located above the access to Passo Rolle, in defense of the valley of the Travignòlo stream.
- During the autumn of 1915, after the fall and the consequent capture of the mountain of Castelàz by the Italian troops, the Austro-Hungarian soldiers were forced to retreat from Passo Rolle, after the pass became a weak spot of the newly created front. On 21 July 1916, the Italian troops striked against the installations on the peak of Cavallazza, managing to take it, together with the entire ridge from the mountain of Colbricón up to Passo Rolle. Right after, due to Austro-Hungarian reinforcements, the Italian offensive was stopped, freezing the front line on the ridge of Colbricón.