The Strada delle 52 Gallerie is a military-engineering route that leads from Bocchetta Campiglia, at the Porte del Pasubio, to the Achille Papa Refuge.
It is probably the most beautiful and exciting of the hikes in the Venetian Pre-Alps.
The historic road was built between February 1917 and November of the same year by the 33rd Miners Company of the Italian Army. It allowed the troops perched on Pasubio to be supplied from enemy actions in the First World War.
The Strada degli Scarrubi could only be travelled by motor vehicles during the summer, and was an easy target for Austrian cannons. An alternative was therefore needed and a new route had to be built, quickly, in order to access Monte Pasubio. Thus was born the Strada delle 52 Gallerie, 6.5 kilometres, two of which are tunnels carved into the rock.
It is, therefore, a route steeped in history that today offers extraordinary panoramic views amidst spires and precipices, hills and plains. An itinerary to be experienced kilometre after kilometre, tunnel after tunnel. It is a strong route steeped in history. In the tunnels you can read the names of the men of the brigades who, a century ago, passed through here every day. And they did it to survive.
The starting point of the route is Bocchetta Campiglia. It is from here that the mule track begins, climbing rapidly between pinnacles and cliffs, leading to the first tunnel. The tunnels are all different, some are open and were used for lighting or for positioning cannons; between one tunnel and the next, mine shafts were positioned, which, in the event of a dangerous emergency, could have blown up a section of the route. There are also special tunnels such as the 320-metre-long 19th or the 20th with its breathtaking view. At the end of the 33rd tunnel, you are at 1900 metres.
You then proceed for another kilometre along a mule track carved into the rock, reaching 2000 metres with the 48th tunnel. A further kilometre takes you to Rifugio Achille Papa, the perfect place to refresh yourself.
The route is full of wonderful views but also a lot of history. In fact, Monte Pasubio, which lies on the border between the provinces of Trento and Vicenza, and which connects the Little Dolomites to the Folgaria Plateau, played a fundamental role during the First World War. It was the scene of numerous battles, especially on the north-south ridge, known as ‘the Sacred Zone of Pasubio’, where Italians and Austrians clashed several times. Its surface is still marred by bomb craters, and bears the traces of trenches and communication trenches. Today, the paths created during the war are a destination for hikers. They allow you to discover a landscape with steep slopes, spires and gorges. And to reach its upper part, an undulating plateau that, at an altitude of 2,000 metres, hosts ridges and wide basins.
WHEN AND HOW TO VISIT THE TUNNELS
The perfect time of year to walk the Strada delle 52 Gallerie is from April to October. During the winter season, in fact, snow may even completely obstruct access to the tunnels. It is not a particularly difficult path, but some precautions must be taken, and the right amount of caution must be brought along. Leaning over the road and venturing into secondary tunnels is absolutely inadvisable. In addition, one must remember to always use mountain clothing and to wear, perhaps on one’s head, a torch, as the tunnels are dark and sometimes slippery due to water. This is why it is important to be careful and to tackle the route exclusively on foot.
Info taken from www.visitpedemontana.com