The road of 52 tunnels

ON THE FRONT LINES OF THE GREAT WAR

Well, if you suffer from claustrophobia maybe it’s not really the best trek for you. But for everyone else it is an experience not to be missed. We are talking about the so-called 52 Galleries Road .

Here is his story: on the Monte Pasubio, in the province of Vicenza, between February and November 1917 – thus at the height of the Great War – the Italian Army’s 33rd Miner Company created an engineering masterpiece in just 10 months, which enabled them to resupply and communicate with troops perched on the strategically important peak

A SPECTACULAR TREKKING ROUTE

Prior to this construction, there was only the Scarrubi Road, which could be traveled by motor vehicles only in the summer, and was an easy target for Austrian cannons: therefore, an alternative was needed… Thus was born, the 52 Galleries Road.

It is 6.5 kilometers, 2 of which are tunnels carved into the rock: a route for trekkers that gives extraordinary panoramic views in the midst of spires and precipices, hills and plains to be experienced kilometer after kilometer, tunnel after tunnel.

BETWEEN TUNNELS AND VISTAS

It starts from Bocchetta Campiglia. Here you leave the car and start the mule track that, climbs rapidly between pinnacles and cliffs. Some tunnels are open and served as lighting and gun emplacements (one of which can still be admired today); in some cases mine shafts were placed between them. They are all different, the tunnels you go through. Then there are the special tunnels: the 19th, which is 320 meters long; or the 20th, with its breathtaking view. At the end of the 33rd tunnel, you are at an elevation of 1,900 meters.

We then proceed one more kilometer along a mule track carved into the rock, reaching 2,000 meters with the 48th tunnel and-with one more kilometer-the Achille Papa Shelter. Here we refresh ourselves, before returning to the starting point by taking the Scarrubi Road (two and a half hours of scenic route).

MOUNT PASUBIO

Mount Pasubio-at the border between the provinces of Trento and Vicenza-connects the Little Dolomites to the Folgaria Plateau. That is why it played a key role in the Great War course. It was the scene of much fighting, especially in that north-south ridge-the“Sacred Zone of Pasubio“-where the Italians and Austrians clashed several times. Its surface is still marked by bomb craters, and it retains traces of trenches and trenches.

The best time to travel the 52 Tunnel Road is from April to October; during the winter season, in fact, snow may even completely obstruct access to the tunnels. It is also in spring that the colors of nature make the climb truly striking. As long as you deal with it safely. It is not a difficult path but some precautions should be taken and the right amount of caution should be brought along.

Leaning over the road and venturing into secondary tunnels-perhaps half-collapsed or unsafe-is definitely not recommended. Also, one must remember to always use mountain clothing and to wear, perhaps on one’s head, a flashlight: the tunnels are dark and sometimes slippery because of water. This is why it is important to pay attention and tackle the route exclusively on foot: mountain bikes, here, are banned.

TIPS

he best time to travel the 52 Tunnel Road is from April to October; during the winter season, in fact, snow may even completely obstruct access to the tunnels. It is also in spring that the colors of nature make the climb truly striking. As long as you approach it safely. It is not a difficult path, but you need to take some precautions and carry the right amount of caution.

Leaning over the road and venturing into secondary tunnels-perhaps half-collapsed or unsafe-is definitely not recommended. Also, one must remember to always use mountain clothing and to wear, perhaps on one’s head, a flashlight: the tunnels are dark and sometimes slippery because of water.

This is why it is important to pay attention and tackle the route exclusively on foot: mountain bikes, here, are banned.

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