VALLE DI PRIMIERO

“Sono pietre o sono nuvole? Sono vere oppure è un sogno?”

“Are they stones or are they clouds? Are they real or is it a dream?” so Dino Buzzati wrote about the Dolomites of the Primiero Valley. The famous writer and journalist loved to spend his holidays since his youth in this valley, which he made known to the whole world thanks to his poems and his novel “The Tartar Desert”, which was inspired by these places.

The Primiero Valley is set between the Lagorai chain, the Vette Feltrine and the Pale di San Martino and is crossed by the Paneveggio Natural Park. It is connected to Val di Fiemme by the Rolle Pass, home to a modern ski area and an enchanting excursion area.

Its secondary valleys, like Val Canali and Val del Vanoi are small islands of tranquillity that will take you into another world.

A jewel of the Dolomites to discover!

TOP 5 NOT TO BE MISSED

  • Reaching the Pale di San Martino Plateau
  • Getting lost in the Paneveggio Natural Park
  • Discover Mezzano and his “Canzei”
  • Visit Val Canali
  • Ski touring and many other excursions in the Vanoi Valley
Panoramica su Fiera di Primiero

Ph © Enrica Pallaver Photography

MAIN VILLAGES

SAN MARTINO DI CASTROZZA

The best known centre of the valley is certainly San Martino di Castrozza. Famous already in the 19th century among the pioneers of modern mountaineering, this place became a renowned tourist resort frequented by nobles and artists who found inspiration here: Arthur Schnitzler, Austrian writer and playwright of great fame, at the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, loved to spend his holidays in this village. The novel “Miss Else” is set here. Not just him, Richard Strauss, a German classical music composer, also found inspiration for his work in San Martino.

How can you not understand them? After all, San Martino looks like a jewel set between imposing peaks, which it almost seems like you can touch them. The valley in which it is set is surrounded by the Paneveggio-Pale di San Martino Natural Park. The truly extraordinary panorama falls on the peaks of Cimon della Pala, Vezzana, Rosetta, Sass Maor, Val di Roda, Madonna and Colbricon. The village is connected from Passo Rolle with Val di Fiemme.

San Martino di Castrozza owes its origin to an ancient religious institution, the Ospizio dei Santi Martino e Giuliano (Hospice of Saints Martin and Julian), which welcomed travellers who crossed the Rolle Pass, heading from Primiero to Val di Fiemme. Of the ancient hospice now only the church of San Martino remains, with its Romanesque bell tower.

At an altitude of 1450 metres, San Martino presents itself as an elegant holiday destination, appreciated both in summer and winter, thanks to the numerous possibilities between sport and nature.

If you are a lover of great sporting events, we recommend the Sportful Dolomiti Race, a cycling granfondo that starts in Feltre (Belluno) and crosses San Martino in mid-June, or the much more famous Rally di San Martino, usually in mid-September, which is part of the World Race Championship circuit.

Dal centro di San Martino di Castrozza

Ph © Enrica Pallaver Photography

FIERA DI PRIMIERO

The small village of Fiera di Primiero is located at the foot of the Pale di San Martino, at the confluence of the Cismon and Canali streams. It was here in the 15th century that the Tyrolean miners who came to work built a new village with the aim of trading minerals. Hence the name “fiera”.

The beautiful mountain village is located at an altitude of 730 metres above sea level and has an architecture typical of the ancient villages of Tyrol. The Archpriest’s Church of Our Lady of the Assumption is one of the most beautiful gothic churches in Tyrol and Trentino. Near the church is the 15th century Palazzo delle Miniere or del Dazio, the ancient seat of the magistrate responsible for the control of the mines and the tax office.

Not to be missed are the numerous food and wine, cultural and musical festivals throughout the Primiero.

Not to confuse you, we would like to point out that San Martino di Castrozza, together with Fiera di Primiero form the municipality of Primiero San Martino di Castrozza and also include the villages of Tonadico, Transacqua, Pieve, Siror and Nolesca.

In Tonadico, in the middle of the Paneveggio Natural Park, there is Villa Welsperg, once the residence of the Counts Welsperg, lords of these lands. The villa, built in 1853, is located near the homonymous lake, later modernly renovated and equipped, since 1996 it has been the seat of the Park Authority and houses the administrative and technical offices and the Visitors’ Centre. Villa Welsperg is a complex of three buildings, the villa itself, which also houses a library dedicated to Dino Buzzati, the small church and the barn, surrounded by a large meadow-pasture which, in the lower part, fades into a small peat bog.

From Fiera di Primiero, finally, you can reach the beautiful Val Canali. Val Canali is considered one of the most beautiful alpine valleys and represents the southern access to the Dolomites group of Pale di San Martino.

Exciting and suggestive is the road that leads to the entrance of the valley that passes under the ruins of the ancient Castel Pietra. Built in the 13th century, the fortress has been witness to wars, revolts and assaults. The suggestive atmosphere that surrounds it makes it a popular attraction for travellers. In the Val Canali seems that time has stopped: if you are looking for a place far from the worldliness in absolute silence and relax, this is the right place! Here the main economic activities are still agriculture and sheep-farming, as evidence of a lifestyle where natural rhythms are fundamental.

Vista sulla chiesa Arcipretale di Fiera di Primiero

Ph © Enrica Pallaver Photography

MEZZANO

Going down towards the south, you come to the village of Mezzano, a village that owes its name to its position halfway between Imer and Fiera di Primiero.

Since 2010, it has been one of the “Most beautiful villages in Italy” thanks to its fine houses and narrow streets. The main characteristic of the village is the ancient custom of stacking wood outside the houses to dry it before the winter. This habit has led to the creation of a permanent exhibition entitled “Cataste & Canzei”. From here was born the creation of works of art, always using stacked wood, made by local artists. The stacked woods form unique designs and shapes. Every year the exhibition is renewed with the addition of a new pile, to the initial fourteen, located in the characteristic points of the village. Really a unique exhibition not to be missed!

Cataste e Canzei Mezzano

Ph © Enrica Pallaver Photography

IMER

To close the Primiero Valley we present Imer, bordering the province of Belluno and reachable from Feltre through the Schener. At 650 meters above sea level, Imer rises with its small historical centre dominated by the little church of San Silvestro, dating back to 1200, placed on a rock at the entrance of the village.

Its name probably derives from the Latin “imerium”, which means “lowest village in the valley”. The origin of Imer probably dates back to the V or VI century A.D., following the discovery of a Longobard tomb, with rich funerary furnishings and datable to around the VI century A.D. Once again your spirit as an archaeologist can be fully satisfied!

Imer is also a well-known tourist resort in Eastern Trentino and has a first class cross-country skiing centre, called “Ski Arena Le Peze”. Moreover, from Imer starts the cycle path that leads to Siror.

From the village of Imer it is possible to reach the Vanoi valley, a small part of Trentino surrounded by numerous peaks of the Lagorai chain, and the Cima d’Asta massif. It takes its name from the stream that crosses it, until it reaches the river Cismon. For a long time isolated due to the difficulty in connecting to the outside world, the Vanoi valley has maintained its extraordinary plant and wildlife heritage, one of the most diverse and intact in the region, a characteristic that has earned it the nickname of “Green Heart of Trentino”. Since 1967 the Vanoi Valley has been included in the Paneveggio-Pale di San Martino Natural Park. The rich forest heritage represents one of the most important economic resources of the valley. Thanks to the numerous routes, this valley is the ideal place for ski touring lovers.

Panoramica di Imer

Ph © Enrica Pallaver Photography

CURIOSITY

 

The small village of Fiera di Primiero gave birth to a man who was launched into the Olympus of great Italians abroad: Luigi Negrelli. He is the creator of the Suez Canal, the channel that allows direct navigation between the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean.

The Hotels selected by Passione Dolomiti

Valle di Primiero – San Martino Di Castrozza

Hotel Letizia

Valle di Primiero – San Martino Di Castrozza

Hotel Siror

Valle di Primiero – San Martino Di Castrozza

Chalet Piereni

Valle di Primiero – San Martino Di Castrozza

Hotel Plank

Valle di Primiero – San Martino Di Castrozza

Grand Hotel des Alpes

WINTER ACTIVITIES

Also in the Primiero Valley alpine skiing is the master, thanks to the 75 kilometres of slopes in the San Martino di Castrozza-Passo Rolle area.

Ski mountaineering is instead the main activity in the Vanoi Valley, and in many areas of the Primiero. Cross-country skiing, winter hiking and snowshoeing in the Paneveggio Natural Park, surrounded by the famous Pale di San Martino.

If you want to experience an extra thrill we recommend ice climbing, which is very popular here, but always in the company of mountain guides.

Ski Area Passo Rolle

Ph © Enrica Pallaver Photography

SUMMER ACTIVITIES

Excursions, excursions and more excursions! Pale di San Martino, Lagorai and Vette Feltrine represent three possibilities for climbing lovers, who will be spoilt for choice between via ferrata, high routes and climbs!

But not only rock: space for mountain bikes or e-bikes on the numerous dedicated routes, but also canyoing for the bravest.

Altopiano della Rosetta

Ph © Enrica Pallaver Photography

SKIING AND EXCURSIONISTIC AREAS

SAN MARTINO DI CASTROZZA / PASSO ROLLE

The San Martino di Castrozza-Passo Rolle area is the southern part of the Dolomiti Superski carousel. Thanks to the mild temperatures and the countless sunny days, this area represents a valid alternative to more popular resorts.

The slopes extend for more than 60 km, between 1400 and 2400 meters above sea level in a unique naturalistic scenery.

There is a total of 23 ski lifts for every level of difficulty, with thrilling trails, changes of slope and fast sections on the plains, within the reach of beginners and exciting for experts.

All the slopes of the ski area, including those of Passo Rolle and Passo Cereda, can be reached with the convenient ski bus service from San Martino di Castrozza. Board and freestyle enthusiasts can try their hand at acrobatics and jumps on the beautiful installations of San Martino Snowpark and Rolle Railz Park.

Winter in the Valle di Priemiero, however, is not only this. The Natural Park of Paneveggio is the ideal place for long walks in the snow with snowshoes. Some mountain huts are also open in winter and offer a restaurant service: an excellent opportunity to taste the delicacies of the area.

And speaking of local products, we would like to point out the Strada dei Formaggi delle Dolomiti along the Primiero valley, a real opportunity to combine all the senses, as well as taste, which will be satisfied by unique panoramas, through legendary places set among the Dolomites.

The guiding thread of this product club, which brings together tour operators and others, is that of the rich cheese production, but also a series of other products, are the fruit of a community that has wanted to maintain the rhythms of life, love for the land where they were born and respect for the natural heritage.

The cheeses of Primiero such as the Nostrani, the fresh and smoked ricottas or the Tosèla, tell every taste of the mountain pastures, the fragrant flowers of the mountain pastures and still uncontaminated places such as the nearby Valle del Vanoi.

Ski Area San Martino

Ph © Enrica Pallaver Photography

VAL VENEGIA

We have already mentioned it, but we would like to say a few words to introduce it better. Let’s start from the name: really curious, if you think that it derives from “Venice” because in the past centuries the trunks cut in the local forest of Juribrutto (part of Val Venegia) were destined to the Serenissima shipyards.

But this valley, besides having a unique name, is also one of the quietest corners, despite its position. From here you can enjoy a spectacular view of the Pale di San Martino from the north. The gentle valley of glacial origin, which extends in the upper part of the Travignolo basin, is a truly idyllic place: crossing fragrant alpine pastures furrowed by fresh streams, you can discover an environment of great naturalistic value and not by chance considered one of the pearls of the Paneveggio Pale di San Martino Natural Park. In summer or winter, in autumn or spring, this small valley will surprise you with its colours, but above all with its silence.

In Val Venegia it is possible to find refreshment at two cosy huts (L’Agritur Malga Venegia and L’Agritur Malga Venegiota) and take the path to the Mulaz Refuge, the highest in the Pale di San Martino chain.


ALTOPIANO DELLE PALE DI SAN MARTINO

The central plateau of the Pale di San Martino seems to have inspired the famous writer and journalist Dino Buzzati to write the “Deserto dei Tartari”. The beauty of this place is in fact really unique and irresistible for rock lovers. The plateau is vast and hidden; the plateau is not uniform and flat, but it forces you to untangle yourself between basins, rises and detours to avoid deep cracks in the rock. It is about 10 kilometres long and 5 kilometres wide and extends at an altitude between 2500 and 2700 metres. If you want to experience the thrill of discovering the Pale di San Martino by living the unique experience of a holiday from refuge to refuge on the plateau, do not miss the Palaronda, a summer initiative that is very successful. There are two versions to choose from: the Palaronda Trek, which provides routes suitable for everyone, and the Palaronda Ferrata for the most demanding hikers.

ADVICE

A trekking itinerary that is really suitable for everyone is that of the Cristo Pensante, which starts from Passo Rolle. Leave your car right at the Pass and from Baita Segantini continue following the R01 sign that takes you to Cima Monte Castellazzo in about three hours. There you can admire not only the classic cross, but also a marble statue of the Thinking Christ. The path is particularly panoramic and offers crazy views of Val Venegia, Pale di San Martino and Marmolada. In addition, the trail is of particular historical interest, as it features remains of the Great War, which was also fought in the trenches of the Dolomites.

Val Venegia

Ph © Enrica Pallaver Photography

NATURAL PARKS

Paneveggio-Pale di San Martino Natural Park

Ready to discover one of the largest and most famous parks in Trentino? Established in 1967, the Paneveggio-Pale di San Martino Natural Park covers an area of almost 200 square kilometres and includes the Pale di San Martino, the Paneveggio forest, part of the Lagorai chain, a portion of the Lusia-Cima Bocche chain.

The symbol of the park is the deer, king of the forest, which you can admire at the Paneveggio Visitor Centre. Besides this, there are others, such as the one in Val Canali and in San Martino di Castrozza. A very rich Ecomuseum and Ethnographic Path are a must in Vanoi.

Besides the deer, the Park is known to be visited by roe deer, fawns and golden eagles. As for the flora, how not to mention the spruce, the perfect base for excellent musical instruments.