The term “off the beaten track” has become something of a cliche. Travellers look for places where nobody else has been before, places that are “secret” (though they search for them on the internet), and places that are off the beaten track. Not often frequented. Deserted. Isolated. Ancient. The list goes on.
My venture off the beaten track unashamedly accords with cliche, in that the track which I traversed is very popular among the people of Torrebelvicino, Valli del Pasubio, and the other surrounding areas which I have not yet had the pleasure of visiting. The track is, in fact, very beaten. I met countless people along the way, and I am told that at the weekend the place is thriving. However, to a city girl like me, it was a challenging and dangerous terrain through the Little Dolomites….
My not-so-off the beaten track was a trek of about 13 km around the mountain range Senglo Alto. From the city of Schio, it is a short drive through Torrebelvicino and Valli del Pasubio to the border between the Italian provinces of Veneto and Trentino. Here you can park up, jump out of that car and prepare for a gentle incline of an hour and a half.
Of course, my journey was not so simple. A recent disruption in the mountain range had cause the collapse of a section of rocks, meaning that some of the path was closed. Did this stop us? Hell, no. Ignoring the warnings of passers-by, my companion and I used ropes that had been fixed to the rock face to help us get across the damaged area. This was challenging, as there was no support available and the path gave way to a cliff face that was gentle but covered in sharp rocks.
This safely out of the way, we made our way to the refuge, a cute little restaurant come inn servings portion of steaming pasta and meat 1457m above sea level. I had the duck, and it was delicious. From here, you can choose to return on the path you came from, traverse a further 200m to the summit of the mountain, or take another path to bring you full circle. Being the true-grit traveller that I am, I chose to take the steep, dangerous path to the summit of the mountain.
Two chains affixed to either side of the rock face aids travel to the top of the mountain, and although the walk is hard, the views once you reach the summit are spectacular. There is also a barrack that remains from the second world war, which you can enter to view the mountain through the eyes of the soldiers who lived there for three years during the fighting.
We took the circular path home, a pleasant and gentle decline to the car park. As I said, the path is popular, and by the time we reached the car the car park was full. We were lucky to have the weather on our side-I hope that if you ever traverse the (very) beaten track around the Senglo Alto mountains you are similarly blessed!