Val di Non

VAL DI NON

We are reading your mind: you think of apples, don’t you? You are also right to some extent, but Val di Non is certainly an area that will surprise you with its landscapes, made up of lakes, rivers, gorges, castles, farms, alpine pastures, churches and, of course, apple orchards.

Val di Non can be reached from South Tyrol via the Mendola pass, which connects it with Caldaro on the wine road, or via the Palade pass from Lana, near Merano. It is much more convenient to reach it from state road 43, near the Mezzolombardo motorway exit.

If you have never considered this corner, then we invite you to do so with us! Enjoy your reading!

TOP 5 NOT TO BE MISSED

Visit San Romedio

Falling in love with Lake Tovel

Discover Castel Thun

Venturing into the Rio Sass Canyon

Trekking to Mount Penegal and admiring the view

CLES

Cles derives its name from Ecclesia, because in the early Middle Ages it was the first and only church in the area. Today there are many testimonies of the Christian faith: S.Vigilio, the conventual church of the Franciscan Fathers, S.Lucia a Caltron, S.Pietro a Maiano, S.Vito, S.Tommaso di Dres, San Lorenzo a Mechel.

This village owes its splendour to Bernardo Clesio, prince-bishop of Trento and cardinal who promoted the Council of Trent in 1530. Above the lake of Santa Giustina, Castel Clesio, the residence of his dynasty, rises up.  This magnificent piece of architecture is unfortunately not open to the public, as it is still the private property of the Barons of Cles. However, it does exceptionally host summer cultural events.

 Foto © M. Eccher – APT Val di Non

RUFFRE’ / MENDOLA

Ruffrè is a characteristic village surrounded by thick fir woods. Its origins date back to the Middle Ages and it is made up of a series of scattered settlements known as ‘masi’, picturesque Alpine cottages set in a panoramic position. In the culture, customs, place names and family names there are elements of clear German influence, given the immediate proximity to Alto Adige via the Mendola Pass.
For lovers of esotericism, near Ruffré there is the Devil’s Ravine, where, according to a singular legend, there were “screams” and “little lights”, and where witches used to trespass with the devil.

BORGO D’ANAUNIA

If Borgo d’Anaunia doesn’t ring a bell, let us tell you that it is the result of the merger of the municipalities of Castelfondo, Fondo and Malosco, which took place in 2020.

Castelfondo is a village of Roman origin, a castrum that served as a military logistics base. The parish church of San Nicolò and the castle of Castelfondo are worth visiting.

Fondo, the capital of Alta Val di Non, lies between the Mendola Pass and Palade. It is crossed by a canyon up to 50 metres deep: the Rio Sass gorge, an extraordinary landscape of stalactites and stalagmites, waterfalls and cascades. It can be explored starting from the village square along a guided path equipped with footbridges and ladders… don’t miss it!
The nearby Emerald Lake is a great place to relax on the beach or swim. Lake Santa Maria (or Lake Tret) is near the village of the same name. There are endless trekking and mountain biking trails at the foot of the surrounding peaks, such as Monte Macaion or Monte Luco.
The church of San Martino and the ancient church of San Rocco are worth a visit.

In winter Fondo hosts the famous Ciaspolada, a snowshoe race that attracts over 6,000 competitors from all over the world.

Malosco is also an ancient settlement of Romanesque origin, with a medieval castle at the entrance to the village. From the centre of the village, you can choose from a number of routes for medium-difficulty walks in the countryside. From the ‘Regole’ locality of Malosco, you can reach Monte Penegal, following trail no. 508: a not difficult route, which takes you to an altitude of 1737 metres. It can also be done in winter with snowshoes. From the top of the Penegal, you will see a breathtaking panorama of the Adige Valley, with Caldaro in the foreground.

CURIOSITies

We mentioned apples, but what if you want to see them? Touch them? Be inebriated by their scent? In Segno there is the MondoMelinda, a visitors’ centre for all those who want to know more about this wonderful fruit. A curiosity: the apples are stored in underground cells, natural caves that keep the fruit fresh and fragrant. They can be visited.

WINTER ACTIVITIES

There are three ski areas in Val di Non, offering fun opportunities for those who love Nordic or alpine skiing, ski mountaineering and those who prefer snowboarding. For those who do not ski, there are many alternative experiences, such as horse-drawn sleigh rides and snowshoeing, a Val di Non tradition. You can ice-skate on the Emerald Lake or at the Fondo ice rink.

In Val di Non there are numerous ski mountaineering routes, an opportunity to immerse oneself even more in the peace of the valley, especially in the Maddalene area, in the septentrional part of the valley.

Nordic skiing is mainly practised on the Predaia and at the Centro fondo delle Regole di Malosco, in Sarnonico, continuing along the state road leading to the Passo della Mendola, where the tracks wind through woods and clearings, on 10 kilometres of rings at an average altitude of 1350 metres above sea level.

A destination for families are the Predaia Park and the Funny Park Nevelandia al Roen, at the Mendola Pass, where children can learn to ski while having fun in a fairy-tale village, with toboggan runs and tubing.

To better enjoy the area, entering the tradition of Val di Non, we suggest you do not miss the classic Ciaspolada, during the Epiphany festival.

Foto © Enrica Pallaver Photography

Foto © PFN – APT Val di Non

SUMMER ACTIVITIES

A valley to be discovered, in all its facets. From the Dolomites, with the pearl of Lake Tovel nestled in the middle, to the Canyons, where adventure and excitement alternate in complete safety. From alpine lakes to experiential walks, there is always something interesting to do in Val di Non, even in summer.

Not to be missed is the excursion to the Rio Sass canyon in Fondo and the Novella River Park. An alpine guide will take you to visit the canyon, which reaches a depth of up to 50 metres.

SKI / HIKING AREAS

Val di Non is a valley with a vocation for tourism, but not based on large ski areas like many other valleys. In spite of this, there are three small, well-managed ski areas that offer skiing fun for young and old alike.

Val di Non offers alpine ski slopes at Passo della Mendola on Mount Roen in the Campi di Golf area; at Ruffrè-Mendola on Mount Nock and on the Predaia plateau, at Ciasazze, all places where snow is guaranteed by the programming system. If you want to enjoy the quiet of the winter night, you can ski at night on the illuminated slopes of Ruffrè. 

In summer, on the other hand, Val di Non is the perfect place for your more or less difficult excursions.

The northernmost area is occupied by the Maddalene chain, which allows you superb itineraries on important heights, but also quieter situations.

Foto © APT  Val di Non

Something that will remain in your heart is certainly a day at Lake Tovel: also known as the ‘Caribbean of Trentino’, this lake is characterised by a colour ranging from blue to emerald green. These colours are given by the Dolomia rock on the bottom. In short, a worthy rival to Lake Braies in South Tyrol.

We recommend a circular tour around the lake to admire it from different angles, a picnic on the shore and a photo opportunity for your album of memories.

Tovel can be reached from various points in Val di Non, but the most original of all is the Terres cycle/pedestrian tunnel: an old canal which has now been renovated to provide a safe and easy connection to this lake.

Another interesting destination is the Sanctuary of San Romedio, which can be reached from Sanzeno via the San Romedio gorge path, created from a former aqueduct. The sanctuary is dedicated to the figure of the hermit San Romedio and consists of 5 churches built on a steep spur, giving this place an austere beauty. Not to be missed!

ADVICE

A MUST SEE is definitely Castel Thun: built on a hill, a few kilometres from Vigo di Ton, it is one of the most famous castles in Trentino. Inside it preserves intact the original furnishings from the 16th century, together with precious art collections, an important library and a rich art gallery. Not to be missed is the Bishop’s Room, entirely panelled in Cimbrian wood.

We recommend you visit it from March to November, when the days are longer and you can admire the richness of its interiors in the right light.

Foto © Pio Geminiani – APT Val di Non

NATURAL PARKS

Adamello Brenta Nature Park

The Park, located west of Trento, along the border with Lombardy, occupies one tenth of the surface area of Trentino. Established in 1967, the Park offers many views of rare beauty. From Lake Tovel, which was once coloured red by the flowering of a particular type of algae. An excellent network of footpaths makes it possible to visit the valleys and climb (sometimes by cable car) to the alpine refuges to enjoy traditional dishes.

The exceptional environmental conformation of the park territory favours extraordinary fauna, including rare and exclusive species.

Be careful, therefore, not to venture too far into solitary situations: the brown bear, a shy and solitary carnivore, is among them. There is also the fox, a cunning predator, and five species of mustelids (badger, marten, weasel and stoat).

There are numerous herds of Alpine chamois on the high-altitude meadows, while roe deer and red deer find their best habitat in the valley. The ibex has recently reappeared in the high altitude areas, reintroduced thanks to a project implemented by the Park in collaboration with the neighbouring Lombardy park.

In order to get a complete picture of the animal population, mention should be made of mouflons and numerous rodents and insectivores (squirrels, shrews, marmots).

Equally rich and interesting is the avifauna, including the mimetic francolin, the capercaillie and black grouse and the ptarmigan. Last but not least, there are diurnal birds of prey (including the golden eagle and hawk, the eagle and long-eared owl, the little owl and the scops owl), reptiles and numerous species of fish in the Alpine lakes.

Approximately one third of the park’s surface area is covered by woodland, which in the lower reaches consists mainly of deciduous trees. For example, maple, cornel, rowan, hazel, willow, hornbeam, downy oak and manna ash. In the mountainous plain, on the other hand, there are beech woods and mixed deciduous and coniferous woods. The latter are often prevalent because they were favoured in the past by silviculture. Where this has not been the case, pure beech forests have been able to develop freely. Spruce and larch cover the higher altitudes.