Stage 5 – Collalbo – Bolzano – Short but spectacular stage, with few ascent points and many descent points. The beauty of the Earth Pyramids, the churches, the farms, the lakes are a spectacle. From the Renon plateau you can admire the high peaks of the Dolomites. You can go down to Bolzano using the Soprabolzano cable car, avoiding a rather demanding descent. In Collalbo you start from the Renon train station and then take path 35 (or Freud Promenade). A very nice and comfortable route. You reach the Haus Der Familie institute. Shortly after there is the possibility of arriving at Lake Costalovara; but the route follows trail 35 or Freud Promenade. On the left a beautiful wood and on the right large meadows; straight ahead you arrive at the railway and the crossroads with Via Costalovara. Following the tracks you will find Soprabolzano, the Renon train station. A few meters further on is the cable car to Bolzano, very convenient for reaching the capital, especially if you don’t want to face the long descent. Nodal point is the Hotel Post Victoria. (In fact, after the Hotel Post Victoria, cyclists and those who are not interested in the phenomenon of the Earth Pyramids and prefer an easier and less dangerous route, especially in case of bad weather, take Via Maria Assunta (CAI path 2), a panoramic road without traffic that descends into the forest for 7 km, then continues for 3 km on Via Santa Maddalena di Sopra up to Bolzano). Otherwise, take Via della Piscina which leads us to take, steeply downhill, the paved path for the Earth Pyramids, which is slightly off the main route of Via Romea. Going back, we go towards the Church of San Giacomo. Then take path 6: the long descent begins. After a paved stretch, again on the path (Sentiero del Castagno – Keschtnweg); another stretch of asphalt and then take path 2A. Then you meet the CAI 2 path; take the Promenade Sant’Osvaldo, a path equipped for walks outside the city. From there you follow the roads that lead to Piazza del Municipio in the center of Bolzano.
5 – Points of Interest
Collalbo/Klobenstein – This is the main town on the high plateau; it has some picturesque buildings that testify to its long tradition as a holiday resort, and it is connected to Soprabolzano/ Oberbozen by the Renon/Ritten Train. Here we are in the “heart of South Tyrol”, a high plateau at an altitude of between 700 and 1300 m above sea level, very green, dotted with lovely villages, distinctive geological phenomena such as the Earth Pyramids/Erdpyramiden, and small lakes.
The Earth Pyramids of Ritten – The highest and most beautiful earth pyramids in Europe are located on the Ritten Plateau, where these extraordinary natural phenomena can be found in several places: in the Rio Fosco Valley on the road to Longomoso and Monte di Mezzo, in the Rio Rivellone Valley near Oberbozen, and in the Rio Gasterer Valley in Auna di Sotto. The Pyramids are about 25,000 years old! The pinnacles are formed by cones of morainic material, on each of which rests a large boulder, creating unique earth structures made of morainic clay of fluvial-glacial origin, the remains of the main glacier of the Eisack Valley and some secondary local glaciers. These geological formations have the distinctive feature of being cohesive and compact in dry conditions but, being clayey, if exposed to rain they lose stability and crumble, forming 10-15 metre escarpments. The boulders stick to the clay, creating a barrier against the rain, so that with every rainfall an unusual phenomenon occurs: the material not protected by the boulders is eroded and transported downstream, making the majestic earth pyramids literally emerge from the bottom. An earth pyramid is destined to disappear rapidly when the so-called “cap” falls off the apex of the column: now unprotected, the material is exposed to the elements and the column shrinks with each precipitation. And while in the course of this process an earth pyramid disappears, a new one is simultaneously formed on the escarpment.
Lake Costalovara – Lake Costalovara (Wolfsgrubener See) is surrounded by a dense forest that goes right up to the lake shore. It can be reached along the road leading to Oberbozen and the hamlet of Costalovara. The lake, which was created naturally two centuries ago, was artificially extended in order to exploit larger water reserves to drive the mills and sawmills in the surrounding area. Due to the absence of natural tributaries, during periods of drought, Lake Costalovara undergoes a sharp drop in its water level. On hot summer days, Lake Costalovara is a popular destination for relaxing and enjoying a refreshing dip in the water. Lake Costalovara, along with the famous Lake Braies in Val Pusteria, is one of the 10 cleanest lakes in Italy. In summer, the average water temperature is between 22 and 24°C. In winter, however, the lake is frozen and therefore offers the perfect conditions for ice skating.
Ritten Train – It was August 13, 1907, when the Ritten Train was ceremoniously inaugurated; it took passengers from Piazza Walther in the centre of Bolzano directly to the Ritten Plateau. Between Bolzano and Maria Assunta, thanks to its cogwheel system, the small train overcame an ascent of just under 1,000 metres before continuing on a flat route from Maria Assunta to Oberbozen, Stella and Klobenstein. The Ritten Train was a mountain train based on the Swiss model that was in vogue during the Belle Époque, when people wanted to open access to the mountains to wealthy tourists. Over the following decades, the construction of this train symbolised a lucky opportunity. In 1966, the cogwheel track was abandoned and replaced with a modern cable car from Bolzano to Oberbozen. In May 2009, the first cable car was replaced with the current Ritten Cable Car. The narrow-gauge train, which today is the last of its kind in all of South Tyrol, now only connects Oberbozen – Klobenstein, along with a few trips to Maria Assunta, using vintage and modern wagons. Getting on board for a ride is worth it in any case, if only for the breathtaking panoramic views of the Dolomite peaks along the way.
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