26th September 2022
An Extract from my Diary: Walking in Vallesinella near Madonna di Campiglio, Italy
This morning I am exploring the waterfalls of Vallesinella, lovely valley in the Brenta Dolomite Mountains above the resort of Madonna di Campiglio in the region of Trentino, Italy. In preparation for my day out I booked a place on the shuttle bus that leaves the centre of town and goes up to the car parking area midway along the valley known as Vallesinella. I used my Dolomeet Guest Card which includes free transfers on this shuttle service. I combined this with the Trentino Guest Card (available through my hotel) and I have also have free access on local public transport. I don't have to worry about getting anywhere as between them these passes give me access to all the cabin lifts and transport locally. I am staying at the Hotel Lorenzetti and their shuttle bus takes me to one of the stops on the route of the Vallesinella Express which terminates at the start of the path to the Cascate Alte - the first of the three waterfalls I intend to visit today.
[cms:asset 15647 title="Cascate Alte in Vallesinella, Madonna di Campiglio in Italy"
I get off the bus and cross the large car park to the path that leads up to the Cascate Alte, the highest falls in the in this valley. This lovely path winds its way through some shady woods passing by some lovely waterfalls below the long drop that is the Cascate Alte.
At the bottom of the Cascate Alte I take a few photographs before retracing my steps to the parking area. I could have climbed up the zig-zagging path at the side of the this waterfall to a beautiful Alpine meadow at the top, part of a circular walk back to the parking area. Today, I just don’t have time as I am aiming to visit all three waterfalls in this lovely valley. I am also drawn back to my starting point by the thought of a cappuccino and some delicious tiramisu at the Rifugio Vallesinella at the end of the path I am following. I am not sure when my next opportunity for refreshment will be so I ask this rifugio for a filled foccia to go. Now I can just stop and eat when I am hungry.
Refreshed and eager to find the second waterfall, Cascata di Mezzo, I set off down the road towards Madonna di Campigiio. A short distance along this road I turn into the woods and follow a narrow footpath down to the falls. I can already hear the water thundering down onto the rocks below it. This for me is the most impressive of the three falls. They are not the highest as that honour goes to Cascate Alte but they are the widest and the flow of water is much stronger. Also, there is the excitement of falling behind them. I make my way down to the falls enjoying the cooling spray on my face as I approach them. After taking some photos I re-trace my steps.
There is a lovely little rifugio, Rifugio Cascata di Mezzo here. It has a large terrace overlooking the falls and one of my favourite places for a coffee stop. But I have to keep moving as I have no idea how long it will take me to find the third waterfall. In all the years I have been walking in this area I have never seen these falls. Today I am determined to find them. I walk back up to the road and follow the signs to Plaza - the waterfalls themselves are not signposted. From this path path I have some spectacular views back to the Cascata di Mezzo.
Just as I am starting to think I am on the wrong road for the Cascata di Sotto I hear the sound of water splashing below me. A narrow path through the trees leads to the edge of a precipice and I can see a waterfall, partially obscured by branches. Have I finally found the Cascata di Sotto? I am not sure. I make my way back to the road which is now descending steeply towards the bottom of the valley. Preferring to keep walking down the road rather than climbing back up it I continue. A bit further along this road I see the glint of water through the trees. A track through the woods leads in the same direction so I follow it. It is a bit of a scramble but worth the effort. I emerge above a pretty waterfall that can only be the Cascata di Sotto.
I continue along the same road and soon find myself on the valley floor. I walk through the Val Val Brenta Dolomite Natural Wellness Park. I even stop to hug a tree as the information board suggests this might make me feel closer to nature. I fell pretty close already having spent the day walking through stunning natural landscapes. Continuing on my way I am delighted to see a rifugio (now a popular restaurant) ahead of me. I stop at Pas de la Casa and re-energise myself with some apple strudel and vanilla ice cream. A traditional favourite in this region.
When I leave the restaurant I am not entirely sure where I am but I do see some familiar landmarks which leads me to hope I may be in the region of the mid-station of the Pinzolo-Campiglio Express. This cabin lift runs between the lower slopes of Madonna di Campiglio down into the valley by San Antonio di Mavignolo and then up to the upper slopes of Pinzolo. As a means of getting from one town to the other it does not really work. However, the mid-station is very convenient as a means of returning to Madonna di Campiglio after walking through Vallesinella. And today, it would be super convenient as I am beginning to flag. But I soon cheer up when I spot the unusual wooden bridge that spans a tributary of the Sarche River and I realise that today I am in luck. I am soon in a cabin and rising above the trees on my way back to my hotel. What a wonderful day in the mountains it has been.
And, a highlight of this lovely day was the sight of two donkeys gazing down on me from the field above my path.