Before 2009, Monte Castelàz (ugly castle) has been undoubtedly one of the least popular peaks in Primiero. Since 2009, tens of thousands of visitors have been walking to visit the statue of Cristo Pensante (thinking/pondering Jesus). The statue was made by Paolo Lauton with a single block of white marble from Predázzo (Predazzìte). Remarkable is the crown of the statue, built with WWI barbed wire. Pino Dellasega is the actual creator of the idea of developing a special trekking around the statue, in order to enable young people and families to stay in contact with nature, having at the same time some spiritual thoughts.
This trail is the winter edition of the trekking of Cristo Pensante. It starts in Passo Rolle (1,984m a.s.l.). The first part is an easy uphill leading to Capanna Cervino. Right 200m after Capanna Cervino, take the path on the left-hand side to Cima Castelaz, which will be standing at the time right in front of you. On the top of Castelaz, the sightseeing is stunning, featuring Cimon della Pala, Cima Vezzana, Monte Agner, Tofane and Marmolada. The way back is relatively easy, leading initially to Val Venegia and then to Baita Segantini, after going around the hill of Costázza. From Baita Segantini to the starting point the way back is extremely easy as it follows a gravel road.
The entire hike is extremely well marked and popular, so it is likely that you will not be walking alone.
- From Passo Rolle, follow the sign to Capanna Cervino,
- 200m after Capanna Cervino, take the path to Monte Castellazzo,
- From Monte Castellazzo, follow the path leading to Baita Segantini,
- From Baita Segantini, follow the signs showing the way back to Passo Rolle. ✓
CASTELAZ: FROM THE GREAT WAR TO THE THINKING CHRIST
- The Castelaz (2,333 m asl), also known as Monte Castellàzzo, is an isolated rock that looks like a natural fortress. The 22nd of October 1915, during the first part of WWI, the Italian troops occupied the summit, building a system of outposts and trenches on the top of the mountain with the aim of monitoring the enemy front line.
- From the summit of Castelaz, it is possible to have a complete overview of Cima Bócche, Passo Rolle, Val Travignolo, Val di Fiemme and Buse dell’Oro. The strategic position of the outpost was allowing the Italian troops to point the artillery towards the Austro-Hungarian lines positioned by Cima Bocche, Paneveggio and Colbricón.
- By the plateau called Pian della Vezzana (approx. 1,920m a.s.l.), it is still possible to see the ruins of an old military camp (here is the exact location), used as a lower altitude camp hosting troops and supplying ammunitions (presumably through a lift) to the outposts on the top of Monte Castelaz. About 1000 men from the Calabria and Basilicata brigades were stationed by the Castelaz.
- While the trenches and outposts on the top of Castelaz are now a tourist attraction, the ruins in Pian della Vezzana have never been repaired nor included as part of any WWI itinerary, so they just stand fully abandoned.
- The Austro-Hungarian troops have never struck against Castelaz, thus the summit remained occupied by the Italians until November 1917 when, following the devastating defeat of Caporetto, the Italian troops withdrew to the new line on the Piave river.
- Before 2009, the Castelàz (tr. ugly castle) has been undoubtedly one of the least popular summits in Primiero. Since 2009, tens of thousands of visitors have been walking to visit the statue of Cristo Pensante (tr. thinking/pondering Jesus). The statue was made by Paolo Lauton with a single block of white marble from Predázzo (Predazzìte). Remarkable is the crown of the statue, built with WWI barbed wire. Pino Dellasega is the actual creator of the idea of developing a special trekking around the statue (Trekking del Cristo Pensante), with the aim of enabling young people and families to stay in contact with nature, having some spiritual thoughts at the same time.
BAITA SEGANTINI AND CAPANNA CERVINO
- Additionally to the morphological one, there is a logical line which connects the huts of Baita Segantini and Capanna Cervino; in fact, both of them were born thanks to the artist, guide and polyglot Alfredo Paluselli (1900-1969), also known as “Custode del Cimone” (tr. the guardian of Cimon della Pala).
- Born in Ziano di Fiemme, Paluselli is certainly one of the pioneers of “modern” sports and tourism culture in the region; thanks to work experiences that allowed him to observe different cultures in Switzerland and the United States of America. Once he returned back to Italy, after founding an athletics team in Val di Fassa and obtaining the title of Ski Instructor, he decided to found the first skiing school in the Dolomites, together with his wife Lina.
- Prefabricated by Paluselli with modular blocks in his laboratory in Ziano, the hut of Capanna Cervino was built in the 1930s. The building takes its name from the Cimon della Pala (called “Cervino delle Dolomiti” for its shape, similar to the Matterhorn / Cervino / Cervin). The school was the first one of its kind in Italy to offer accommodation and ski lessons together in one package.
- In 1936, while searching for new inspirations, after having restored a path from the Great War connecting Passo Rolle with Passo Costazza, Paluselli devoted himself completely to the Dolomites pass, building what will be his home for the coming 35 years (including the famous winter of 1950-1951 when Passo Rolle was submerged by more than 25 meters of snow): Baita Segantini.
- Paluselli, known for his frankness, was known to dislike being surrounded by people and to swear at anyone who posed or flaunted harshly. It is also known that Paluselli opened his home to visitors only occasionally, when he left to go back to the valley or to climb, leaving its guests with a simple ticket with the words: “Entrate, bevete, pagate” (tr. come in, drink, pay”).
- The hut, originally built in Bellamonte for then being dismantled and reassembled where is located today by Paluselli, is entitled to the painter from Arco. Baita Segantini remains today one of the most visited destinations in the Dolomites. Among its most illustrious visitors, Alcide De Gasperi, Aldo Moro, Leopold III of Belgium and Pope John XIII.
- Trekking del Cristo Pensante website: http://www.trekkingdelcristopensante.it/