1104-Via dei Todesch

Valle del Chiese
It has an unusual name: Via dei Todesch, which could be translated as Street of the Todesch ‒ pronounced “Todesk”. What could it possibly mean? “Todesch” is a term of the local vernacular, which people from Valle del Chiese use to indicate German-speaking individuals - Tedeschi, in standard Italian. Therefore, the whole expression literally means “Street of the Germans” ‒ or rather “Street of the Austrians”.

It may be due to the presence of two Austrian strongholds in Valle del Chiese, namely Forte Cariola and Forte Larino, built to prevent Italian soldiers from infiltrating North from either side of the valley.  
The gravel road called Via dei Todesch was used by Austrian soldiers to spy on their Italian counterpart during World War I. This stretch of uneven land just beyond the border must have seemed a perfect hiding spot, from where to watch while remaining unseen. 

Today, the road is almost forgotten, unsignalled, and largely ignored by cartographers, who rarely bother marking it on their maps. This makes it perfect for bikers, as they are free to ride every inch of it without bans or restrictions. The best thing about this tour, however, is that it offers 15 km of smooth flow-trail with spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. 


From the tourist office of the town of Cologna a long and partly gravel road climbs uphill to the pass of Monte Giovo, where you will face the first real challenge of this super trail: the first, very steep couple of hundred metres between Monte Giovo and Malga Cap are extremely arduous, and require peak physical shape ‒ or an eMTB. Those who do not have either, will have to dismount and push their bikes. But do not despair: upon reaching Malga Cap the track stops climbing, and from there onwards it descends constantly on gravel terrain until it reaches Bocca Giumella

The following stretch towards Malga Ringia is truly fascinating: it starts with a steep ascent until the trail reaches a flat tract and then continues downhill through the wood, offering a number of very fast slopes that are ideal for your eMTB turbo mode. If you are riding a regular MTB, however, you might want to dismount to cross them. Once you reach Malga Ringia, your itinerary continues on a gravel road offering a majestic view over the Adamello massif, all the way to Malga Pura
Once you cross this lonely mountain pasture you will have reached the best part of the tour: a unique, dream-like track first climbs up and then descends smoothly downhill, offering unparalleled fun, interrupted only by sporadic fallen trees that obstruct the passage and require you to dismount your bike to get through. 

If you do not wish to proceed on Via dei Todesch, you should follow the itinerary marked as Ringia Supertrail

After a brief stretch downhill on gravel road, make sure you check your GPS coordinates carefully, as the next turn leading you downhill to the Lake Roncone is not easy to spot. Once you reach the bottom of the track you can finally enjoy a well-deserved break and a snack before riding back to Cologna on the paved cycle path crossing the small town of Por and the stronghold Castel Romano

Expertise and perfect physical shape are essential on this tour. If you own an eMTB, you will have the time of your life. 
Please, note that the only serviced area on this tour is on the Lake Roncone, so you are suggested to travel with your own food and water. 
Author: Uli Stanciu 


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