Stage 2 – Vipiteno-Bressanone – The stage is long but easy, it winds along the river Isarco/Eisack, now on the right side and now on the left. It passes through Campo di Trens/Freienfeld, arrives at Fortezza/Franzensfeste, then Novacella/Neustift and finally Bressanone/Brixen, one of the richest cities in the history of Alto Adige/Südtirol.
Leaving Vipiteno passing under the Torre delle Dodici, you arrive at the Lent weg (cycle path), which first passes under the Brennero state road, then alongside a small airport; on the left Castel Petra and on the right Castel Tasso. Once you have passed under an overpass, after a canal, you follow the cycle path alongside the Brenner motorway on the right and the Isarco river on the left for a long stretch. You thus arrive under the bridge of the Via Blieger road which descends from Campo di Trens (here the cyclists, having passed the Isarco, turn left, leave the route, pass the hamlet of Stilfes, Fuldres until they cross the motorway). You pass in front of the Town Hall of Campo di Trens and then go up to visit the Sanctuary of Maria di Trens); after the visit, go back and take the thematic bee trail (marked as 2a), which leads out of the village, crosses meadows, enters the wood after a farm house and reaches the agricultural village of Valgenauna. Then take the path marked 2b which, still descending, leads to the state road, which you cross paying attention to traffic. You reach Castel Welfenstein (Castel Guelfo). Bypassing the castle, following a protected path, you reach the bridge over the Isarco. Then take the left cycle path to go up to Campo di Trens. The track follows the irregular course of the foot of high mountains with the railway and the motorway on the left. In Grassstein (Le Cave) there is a providential spring; then Mittewald (Mezzaselva), where it offers refreshment and hospitality. On the cycle path along the state road we find a footbridge that leads into the woods; the track is irregular, dirt, but easy. Return to the state road, after passing under the motorway, follow the cycle-pedestrian path until you cross the Isarco on a small wooden bridge and from there you will soon find the Fortezza station. We recommend a visit to the ArcheoParc. The traces on the rock, beyond the river, demonstrate the presence of a road of great importance already during the Roman Empire. Returning to the station, having crossed the town of Fortezza, take the cycle path back towards Brunico. You arrive at the town of Aica and then take the underpass of the Pusteria road. Following the path n.8 “Val di Riga-Novacella” and after several kilometers you will come across the Abbey of Novacella. Near the aggregate recycling center, take the path that descends into the Val di Riga, which continues along the Isarco. On the left, the Recovery Center for aggregates from the excavation of the Brenner tunnel. You skirt cultivated fields and then go up again on the asphalted section. At Neustift Abbey (Novacella) a careful visit to the church and convent is a must. Leaving the Abbey, take a cycle-pedestrian path (signs for “Tennisbar”). We proceed through vineyards and orchards, following the river as far as the bridge which leads us into Bressanone. After crossing the Isarco, taking the cycle-pedestrian path, you find yourself in front of the Cathedral of Bressanone. The hostel is also nearby.
2 – Points of Interest
Bressanone/Brixen – The town is located in the heart of South Tyrol, nestled in the Brixen Valley, surrounded by vineyards and orchards, which grow thanks to the mild climate of the Eisack Valley. Brixen boasts a wide range of cultural offers and walks through chestnut forests on the sunny slopes of Monte Ponente. The episcopal city of Brixen combines a medieval atmosphere with a modern lifestyle, in a fascinating mountain world. Worth seeing: the Cathedral/Brixner Dom, the Baptistery, the Ancient Cloister/Alter Kreuzgang, the Church of the Madonna/St. Maria im Kreuzgang, the Parish Church of St. Michael/Pfarrkirche St. Michael, the White Tower/Weißer Turm, the Bishop’s Palace/Hofburg, the Town Hall, the Walls, Porta Sabiona/Säbener Tor, Porta S. Michele/St. Michaelstor, Porta del Sole/Sonnentor.
Novacella Abbey – The Augustinian Canons’ Monastery of Novacella was founded in 1142 by Bishop Hartmann of Brixen, and over the centuries became one of the most important spiritual centres of old Tyrol. Today it embraces works of art from different periods, including architectural gems such as Castel Sant’Angelo, located at the entrance to the monastery complex, the Baroque church, and the Abbey Museum, which contains late medieval paintings on wood and splendid examples of amanuensis art, such as the “illuminated manuscripts”. The Novacella Abbey library is considered to be one of the most distinguished in the southern German-speaking area. The mill, the hydraulic works and the wine cellar, on the other hand, highlight the economic and productive role the Abbey has always played alongside its spiritual one. Around Novacella Abbey lie the northernmost vineyards in Italy, which produce famous white wines such as Sylvaner, Müller Thurgau and Kerner.
Sanctuary of Maria di Trens – For centuries it has attracted countless people from near and far who come on pilgrimage. The church is also a real gem for art lovers. It was built following the miracle of a poor shepherd’s discovery of an image of the Madonna. We do not know exactly when the pilgrimage to Maria Trens in South Tyrol began. What is certain is that in Avignon in 1345, an indulgence was granted for the construction of a church of St. Mary. In the 15th century the church was enlarged in late Gothic style, and 300 years later it was frescoed by the Viennese Baroque painter Adam Mölck. The miraculous image is dated 1470, carved in pine wood, with a diadem and a mantle adorned with flowers. There are numerous votive tablets in the church, artistic evidence of profound popular devotion. It is a spiritual place even for non-pilgrims.
Lake Varna – The lake has an area of about 1.5 hectares, a maximum depth of 3.5 meters, and no tributaries except for a few small streams. Since 1977, an area of 6.23 hectares adjacent to the lake (“Lake Varna marsh biotope”) has been protected because of its importance as a stopover for migrating birds. The lake water is also rich in iodine. It is possible to take a walk around the lake; at the northern part of the lake there is a small beach, which is frequented during the summer period. There is also a small, simple campsite by the lake. The Jakobsweg also passes through here.
Bold type for structures we already used Red type for structures we have an arrangement (with Credential*) (*) Prices might change for special situations: please book early and ask for confirmation In some places it is difficult to find accommodation only for one night: we suggest you to take accommodation for more nights, using, for your movements, the comfortable and cheap local trains, route Brenner-Trento-Bassano del Grappa.
How to arrive
From airport (BOLOGNA, VENEZIA, MILANO-ORIO, VERONA) to Verona FS Railway Station