Asiago Altopiano | Prealps


Asiago Italy

Above the towns of Theine, Breganze, and Marostrica sits the Altopiano (plateau) dei Sette Comuni, commonly known as the Altopiano di Asiago. The area was the stage for several battles during the First World War (for example Ortigara and Cengio and, beyond the plateau, toward the west, Cimone and Pasubio). Asiago is located in the Vicenza Province of the Veneto Region.

The plateau, which is easily reached from Vicenza and Padua offers unlimited possibilities to explore and relax. Great hiking and Mountain Biking in the Summer, in the vicinity of Asiago the most developed towns are, to the east, Gallio, Foza, and Enego; to the west Roana. Canove, Cesuna, and Rotzo; and to the south Conco and Lusiana. In the winter the area is a world class cross country ski area and Alpine ski resorts.

Asiago Mountains, Prealps Italy

The plateau appears unexpectedly to those ascending from the plain along the steep winding road: broad horizons (ensuring about nine hours of sunlight even during winter), large meadows, towns with tall bell towers and a crown of peaks. Ortigara, Cima Caldiera, Portule, Cima Undici, Cima Dodici that were the battlefields of fierce fighting during World War I and are now the destination of excursions retracing history amongst trenches, forts and battlements.

The Plateau is a district including the municipalities of Asiago, Rotzo, Roana, Conco, Lusiana, Gallio, Foza and Enego.

Asiago is a tourist area with a modern appearance, as well as being one of the cross-country skiing capitals of Italy. The well kept historic center and the spectacular landscape surrounding it make this town one of the most popular destinations for winter and summer tourism.

Rotzo is the oldest municipality of the Plateau, as witnessed by the church of Santa Margherita, founded around the year 1000, and by some prehistoric sites such as Bostel, where an interesting Archaeological Track has been created. The town is known for its excellent potatoes, which are grown in dozens of gardens surrounding the town.

The town of Roana is divided into six characteristic hamlets called the Six Belltowers. The Cuchi Museum, located in the hamlet of Cesuna, holds a collection of over 5,000 handcrafted terracotta whistles and tells the long history of these symbols of celebration and joy.

Gallio is visited above all for its sport facilities, such as the ski-jump hill, used by international champions. Foza is located amongst the forests and its houses are decorated with frescoes painted by artists from all over Italy who were invited to decorate the town with their works.

The small towns of Lusiana and Conco are ideal destinations for summer vacations, due to their stable dry climate and enviable sunny location.

Enego is located at the extremity of the Plateau, a mountain village surrounded by the spectacular mountain chain of the Dolomites, Mount Grappa, Mount Lisser, Cima XI, Cima XII and Mount Ortigara.

The town of Asiago, like all other countries of the Plateau, has been directly affected by the events of World War I: during the Strafexpedition was completely destroyed.The city was rebuilt soon after the end of hostilities.The Military Memorial of Asiago contains the remains of 60,000 Italian soldiers and Austrian ossuary monument, built on the hill Leiten after the war to collect the remains of fallen soldiers in three years of bitter fighting, has become along with Pasubio, Monte Grappaand Tonezza, a symbol for the province of Vicenza.


  • Bassano del Grappa
  • Marostica
  • Thiene
  • Asiago
  • Gaillio
  • Borgo Valsugana




Bike Touring Monte Grappa


italy monte grappa

Monte Grappa is located in the Veneto region of Italy and offers some of Europe's hardest bike climbs. For many Italian cyclist Monte Grappa is considered, one of the most beautiful and challenging climbs in Italy, its length and percentage of grade on the old military roads, make it a challenging climb from any side you tackle. Many people train all year just to bike one of the varied routes to reach the summit, without putting a foot down.

The "classic" route is the "road Cadorna", built during WWI and named after the commanding General, to bring supplies and troops to the summit of the massif. The road starts in the center of the town of Ezzelino Romano and runs for 27 km to reach the top. The hardest parts are the initial (8 km) and the final, while the intermediate section also has 3 km of false flats.

Ascents are also possible from various sides of the Mt. Grappa, from all three provinces Vicenza, Belluno, and Treviso, that share the massif. From the Belluno Province you can go from Caupo or the Valley of Seren. Moving towards the eastern side of the mountain meet the ascent of Semonzo and a series of roads that lead into "malga roads" of Grappa, a very scenic road: you can go from San Liberal (Watchtower-Archeson), from Possagno (viadegli Alpini extremely hard), or by Monte Tomba,·Cavaso coming from the tomb, from Pederobba (Monfenera) or Alano di Piave. There are also numerous opportunities for off road mountain biking with routes of varying difficulty, height and length of military roads, now forest and trails.

The Monte Grappa climbwas used in the Giro d'Itala several times in the seventies and eighties with two mountain top finishes. In 2010, the Giro returned to Monte Grappa during the 14th stage from Ferrara to Asolo, the gruppetto did not reach the summit but classic route up fromSemonza.  Every year in July takes place the classic race for amateurs Bassano/Monte Grappa. Among the historical list of winners you will find, Gino Bartali (1934), Gilberto Simoni and Damiano Cunego.

Each year a non-profit group offers bicycle rides a chance to earn a medallion for riding various numbers of the slopes throughout the year.  The idea is for you register and then you have your climbing sheet stamped at designated locations you can earn your prize.· The only draw back for non locals is that the prizes are awarded at the end of year.

The 10 recognized Road Bike Routes up Monte Grappa: some of the hardest bicycle climbs in Italy

1 - Bike Monte GrappaFrom Romano d'Ezzelino (VI)- Stamp is at Osteria PEDROCCHI - the "Cadorna" road - Km 27 - Slope med. 6% - 10% max
The Cadorna Road was built during World War 1 (1916), later after the war, it was made a national symbol of Italy.

2 - Bike Monte Grappa From Semonzo of Borso del Grappa (TV)- Stamp at Locanda TILLY's -Called the 'Giardino Road' (strada Giardino) - 20 km - Slope med. 8% - max 14%
Built in 1918 for General Giardino, Commander of the Grappa Army Group and was originally 5.50 meters wide and was used as an alternative to move troops and supplies quickly to the front. The strada Giardino was built because the Cadorna road was exposed to enemy fire at some points.

3 - Bike Monte Grappa From Fietta in Paderno del Grappa (TV)- Stamp at Osteria HOCH HOLLE - Path of the "Watchtower" (Vedetta) - Km 22 - Slope med. 10% - 18% max
Old path, converted into a road during the Great War, it is now totally paved.

4 - Bike Monte Grappa From POSSAGNO (TV)- Stamp at Osteria FROM ICO - Road "of the Italian Mountain Troops" (strada degli Alpini) - Km 22 - Slope med. 10% - max. 18%
Strategic military road, was named in memory of the troop that built it through hard work and sweat.

5 - Bike Monte Grappa From CAVASO del TOMBA (TV)- Stamp at the Bar Pizzeria Tennis BASSO - Road "Tomb of the Mount" (strada del Monte Tomba) - Km 23 - Slope med. 10% - 14% max
A classic way to climb from the plains over Mount Tomba to reach the top of Monte Grappa.

6 - Bike Monte Grappa From PEDEROBBA (TV)- Stamp at the Bar KIKKO - Road "Monfenera" - Km 25 - Slope med. 7% - 15% max
Almost constantly immersed in the green woods of beech or pine, is a classic ascent of Grappa.

7 - Bike Monte Grappa From Alano di Piave (TV)- Stamp at·Caffè SPERANZA (Coffee of HOPE) - Street "del Grappa" - Km 22 - Slope med. 10% - 12% max
A nice variation to climb the Monte Grappa Top tomb, crossing the previous four routes

8 - Bike Monte Grappa From Seren del Grappa (BL)- Stamp at the Bar VITOCCO - Road "New Church" (strada Chiesa Nuova) - Km 23 - Slope med. 7% - 20% max
After the first ramp, a short break as you pass· the village of New Church, then it is tough climb all the way to the top.

9 - Bike Monte Grappa FromCaupo of Seren del Grappa (BL) - Stamp all'Hostaria AL MENTA - Road "Cadorna" - Km 28 - Slope med. 6% - 12% max
Northern section of the classic road the crosses Monte Grappa, the Feltre to Bassano del Grappa link and vice versa.

10 - Bike Monte Grappa From Cismon del Grappa (VI)- Stamping to the National Bar - Road "Col dei Prai" - Km 26 - Slope med. 8% - 20% max
This route is two old forest and pastoral roads, that is closed to motorized transit, departing from St. Laurent Street just north of downtown Cismon del Grappa that was paved for the first time this year (2011). They are linked by two sections - one 200 and one of 600 meters - of dirt road between 12th and 14th km. This route links up with the Cadorna road from Seren del Grappa as it passes through Forcelletto.

ARRIVAL (all climbs) and finish stamp for all routes are Cima Grappa - Bassano Refuge
Via Madonna del Covolo, 161 - Crespano del Grappa (TV). Note that some routes finish point is at the intersection with the main route up so you may have 3-4 km of extra biking to do to reach the summit.

Bike Touring the Roads of the Italian Prealps


Bike tour Prealps

Bike Tour the Italian Prealps that are located in the Veneto Region and Lombardy Region.  The Italian Prealps is the best choice for the cyclist who wishes to bike tour and culture touring.  You can ride the wine roads and towns of the old Venetian Republic and ride a great climb up to 2000 meters.  Also riding the Italian Prealps let you extend your riding season in the mountains and classic climbs.

Italian Prealps Mountains Map


You can add the Veneto Region and Lombardy Region Prealps to your bike trip during the months of April through October.  The Veneto Region Prealps are more flexible than the Lombardy Region due to the warmer climate created by the Adriatic Sea.  As well the Veneto region offers a greater mix of cultural activities, so if you are vacationing with a non-rider there is plenty to keep them busy.


Cyclist visiting the Prealps will always be more comfortable on their own bike.  The rides then to be around 12 km of switchback roads bringing you from 100 meters elevation to 1800 meters.  The weather changes are not as drastic so you can get do gauge what you need on the ride by the temps in the valley.  However, many of the small roads are very isolated so a support vehicle is recommended for snacks, water, and emergency break downs.  One of the things I enjoy is that I can get in 3 to 4 thousand metres of climbing without being more than 50 kms from me base.

Strong cyclist riding a 53/39 should at least have a 27 or 28 on the rear cog.  Keep in mind that many of the Prealps climbs have some steep grades but they are not long.  A compac is a great choice and at least a 27 in the rear, less fit or first time riders will want a 29.  Due to the varity of terrain I find that a triple works great when my legs do not have that many miles in them, so a 26 or 28 in the rear are welcomes on some of the grades that can average 18 to 20%.  Riders that do not like hills or feel they wish to be more comfortable should consider a Mountain Bike setup with a rear cog of 36. 


If you are planning a bike trip in the Veneto Prealps the best locations to base yourself are the: Verona Province, Vicenza Province, and Treviso Province.  If you want to challenge yourself on the Lombardy Prealps you should consider either Bergamo or Como as locations to stay. 

The best location to ride the best of these climbs is Asolo or Bassano del Grappa.


Bosco del Cansiglio from Vittoria Veneto Bike Climb


cansiglio 1

Great ride and climb just northeast of Vittorio Veneto and Conegliano.  You can get to either place to start the ride.  My suggestion is that if you are arriving on the train jump off at Conegliano and finish your route in Vittorio Veneto.  You you are planning on an overnight stay in the area I like Vittorio Veneto as a more relaxed location and better base for more rides where you do not have to deal with traffic.

 pian cansiglio vittorio

The route profile shown above is the ride I did starting at the Conegliano train station and ending in Vittorio Veneto.  It looks inviting to ride the opposite way, but it is not a very good ride. 

Riding out of Conegliano follow signs to Vittorio Veneto - Colle Umberto - Sarmode - Bosco del Cangsilgo - Farra - Vittoria Veneto.

From the walled city of Conegliano, the birthplace of the famous artist Cima da Conegliao (15th century) you take a secondary road toward Vittoria Veneto.  This is a good flat section to warm up the legs.  In Sarmode you will start the log climb up to the Cansiglio.  The area you are riding through is the birth place of Ottavio Bottecchia, Italy's first Tour d'France Winner and were the annual race 'Giro del Belvedere' is held. 

The climb is 15.5 km and one of the longest in the area.  There are no stretches that allows a rest and average grade is 6.5%.  On the lower part of the climb you get some great views of the Piave and lower valley, around 800 meters the environment changes and you are in the Cansiglio woods.  The climb tops out atCrosetta, (where many of the Italian and European Mountain Bike championships have been held), this upper plain is still covered by silver fir, spruce, and beeches which were once cut to provide wood for the Venezia sailing fleets.  Surrounding the upper plain are mountain peaks ofPizzoc, Monte Cavallo and Alpago, along the main route you will see the right turn that will take to the Mt. Pizzoc peak. This is a nice extra 500 meters of elevation gain and offers you some great photos.

There are plenty of places to stop for a caffe at the local hotels and sports centers but you might want to stop at the small village still made up of the Cimbri population whom are originally from the Bavaria area of Germany.  Today's inhabitant's still maintain the language and lifestyle of the orginal settles.  The upper plain lasts for about 7 km and when you cross the provincial border into Belluno you will start the steep and technical descent toward Spert. 

At the Spert you will follow the signs toward Vittoria Veneto riding along the shores of Lago S. Croce, (well known for wind surfing).  This is a nice road with little traffic most of the day and you will follow it down into Vittoria Veneto.

Colle Fauniera (Colli Pantani) in the Italian Alps


Colle Fauniera, Alps

The Colle Fauniera or Colle Pantani (also known as Colle dei Morti, "Hill of the Dead") is located in the Cottian Alps,  Piedmont Region, at a 2,511 m altitude. It is part of the communal territory of Castelmagno and Demonte. Colle Fauniera connects the Valle Grana with the Vallone dell'Arma. The name Colle dei Morti stems from a fierce fighting occurred in the region during the 17th century between Franco-Spanish and Piedmontese troops.

To ride Colle Fauniera you can either start in Demonte (780m) (Valle Stura) to the southeast; from Ponte Marmora (944m) (Valle Maira) to the north, or from Pradleves (822m) (Valle Grana) to the east or further down at Valgrana (638m). The road was fully asphalted first in 1999 for the Giro d’Italia and has since been used another time (2003).

This is one of the most beautiful pass roads in the Alps and it is also usually quiet and has little traffic. Not so many tourists find their way up here, but there is  more each year.  You only company that the pass could be the large population of  marmottes, and alpine flowers. Make sure to bring water with you, there are few water points at higher elevations. The road is very well surfaced, but also very narrow.

On the summit there’s a monument dedicated to the great cyclist Marco Pantani, in memory of his epic climb on the Giro of Italy’99 through the steep climbs of the Col. Communal Council Castelmagno in the Italian Piedmont decided to rename the mountain pass and give the official name of "Colle Pantani."

Lessini Mountain Group | Prealps


Lessini Mountains, Prealps Veneto

The Lessini mountain group in the Veneto Prealps, are the hills that rise just north of Verona and acts as a border between the Veneto Region and Trentino Alto Adige Region. The Lessini mountain group reaches to, just over 2000 meters a.s.l. and has multiple valleys and long ridges that descend down towards the pianura veneto (Po Valley).  

The range is covered with woods, vineyards and orchards, there are many nice creeks with old mills, waterfalls, and on higher regions some unique stone formations can be found; example being the huge natural stone bridge found in the Valpolicella zone. Higher regions are bare of trees and grassy, forming many broad plateaus and shoulders, some of the summits can be reached by mountain roads. This is a great area for mountain biking!

The highest part of thethis group in the northern part, consisting of beautiful 'real' mountains like the Cima Carega. The Cima Carega is has been an important mountaineering goal for many centuries. Actually, Cima Carega is not a single mountain, but a broad massif and on the northern peaks are made up of wide rock faces.

Monti Lessini, Prealps

Lessinia Regional Natural Park

The upper area of the Lessinia has been made a national park in-order to protect the rich natural, cultural, and historical heritage of the Verona plateau. The most important tourist center of the Veronese Pre-Alps is Bosco Chiesanuova, which has excellent ski slopes nearby. Around it there are woods and meadows and the Lessinia Plateau which is furrowed by Val d'lIlasi, Val di Squaranto, Val Pantena, and Val Policella. Numerous towns in this charming area are excellently equipped for both winter and summer vacations. Of particular interest are the fossil deposits at Bolca.


  • Verona
  • Soave
  • Avio
  • Borca



Things to not miss in the area are:

  • Bolca Fossil museum,
  • Fossil museum and Covolo di Camposilvano,
  • "Buso" del Valon,
  • Rovere Mille grotto,
  • Ethnographic Museum of Bosco Chiesanuova and Giazza,
  • "Giassare" of Cerro Veronese and Griez,
  • "Baiti" of la Colletta and Corbiolo,
  • Mulino di Bellori,
  • Waterfall Park and Botanic museum of Molina,
  • Palentological museum of S. Anna d'Alfaedo.
  • Excellent local cheese is produced from the cattle that graze in the upper fields.

The Stone Villages

The landscape of the Lessinia is characterized by the continual presence of Prun stone, which is extracted locally. The roofs, or "unici" of many buildings in la Lessinia are made with large slabs of this stone. It is interesting to visit the "giassare" at Griez (Bosco Chiesanuova) and Cerro Veronese, where two of the many hypogeal storage caves were used, until a few decades ago, for preserving the natural ice that the mountain people collected in the winter to sell on the plain in summer.

The Grottoes and the Karstic Phenomena

In Lessinia there are numerous karstic phenomena worth noting from Ponte di Vela (S. Anna d'Alfaedo), characterized by a rock arch more than 50 m long; from the "Buso del Valon" (Bosco Chiesanuova), a cylinder shaped chasm 35m in diameter and about 55m deep, to Covolo di Camposilvano (Velo Veronese), another striking example of karst phenomena in Lessinia; from the "spinxes" which rise up in the nearby valley of the same name (Velo Veronese), to the grotto ofRoverè Mille or "Il Capriolo" (Roverè Veronese), with its beautiful calcite concretions.

The Water fall Park of Molina

This is a park within a park, situated in the middle of the Valpolicella, above Fumane.. A torrent runs through it, forming five waterfalls, which although not huge are certainly striking. Walkways and wooden bridges allow the visitor to admire the surroundings, the clear water, the roaring waterfalls, the ravines, the caverns, the overhanging rocks. A botanic museum, in the square in Molina, allows the visitor to discover over 300 species of local fauna.

The Fossil Museum

The Bolca museum is one of the best known, in perhaps one of the most important Fossil digs in the world; for fish fossils from tropical seas. At Bolca you can observe important finds brought from the nearby "Pesciara" fossil quarry. There is a museum to visit and see fossils of reptiles, crustaceans, insects, amphibrach, cephalopods and numerous kinds of vegetation. Other fossil remains, which supports the theory that the sea covered the Lessinia mountains millions of years ago, can be seen in the museum at Camposilvano (Velo Veronese), in Roncà museum and in S. Anna d'Alfaedo museum.

Monte Baldo | Prealps


Monte Baldo 1

Monte Baldo is a mountain range in the Italian Prealps, located in the provinces of Trentino and Verona. Its ridge spans mainly northeast-southwest, and is bounded from south by the highland ending at Caprino Veronese, from west by Lake Garda, from north by the valley joining Rovereto to Nago-Torbole and, from east, the Val d'Adige. The name derives from the German ("forest"); it appears for the first time in a German map in 1163. The Peace Trail (Sentiero della Pace), one of the most important long distance trails in Northern Italy, leads over the range. The ridge is reachable through a cable car from the nearby town of Malcesine, lying on the Lake Garda.

Monte Baldo shadowes the eastern shore of Lake Garda and offers a unique active vacation destination.  The mountain is almost equally split by the provincial boundaries of Verona Province and Trento Province. Monte Baldo's base starts at just over 100 meters of elevation and the highest peak is 2218 meters a.s.l.  This sudden rise allows you to pass through 5 ecological zones, on your way to the summit. 

Monte Baldo’s ridges run for nearly 40 km along the eastern coast of Lake Garda, cutting a fine profile as they rise sheer from the lake shore to Cima Telegrafo and Cima Valdritta, both over 2,000 metres. These summits form a natural belvedere over much of western Veneto Region, eastern Lombardy Region, and the lower part of Trentino-Alto Adige Region.

Map Of Monte Boldo in Italy


Mount Baldo is characterized by a geographical identity, a ridge parallel to Lake Garda, which stretches for , between the lake to the west and Val d' Adige to the east, and on the south it is bounded by plain Caprino and North Valley Loppio. Mount Baldo reaches its maximum elevation of 2,218 m with the Cima Valdritta, and its minimum elevation of 65 m on Lake Garda. Other prominent peaks in the range are Monte Altissimo di Nago (2,079 m), Cima del Longino (2,180 m), Cima dellePozzette (2,132 m) and Punta Telegrafo (2,200 m).

Yet, it is not for these dramatic heights that this mountain is renowned, but for its flora: an immense botanical diversity, which earned Monte Baldo the title of ‘Hortus Italiae’ – the “Garden of Italy” – as far back as the 16th century. Monte Baldo owes its tremendous range of species to two main factors: the first is the wide geological variations, as the soil is mostly limestone broken up by basaltic lava, fossil-rich seams and more than 60 different types of marble.

The other factor is the broad range of microclimates: while the highest peaks have a distinctively Alpine feel, the lower slopes are subject to the benign climatic influence of Lake Garda, which acts like a natural greenhouse. The lake only froze once in recorded history (in 1701), and for its warm climate its shores host today a mix of olive and lemon trees, palms, cypress and other Mediterranean species.




Hiking Tour Around Monte Baldo

  • Rock Climbing
  • Mountain Biking
  • Classic Climbs
  • Wind Surf
  • Parasailing


Monte Bondone | Prealp Mountains of Italy


valle dei laghi

Monte Bondone, 1.654m a.s.l., is located  in the Trentino Alto Adige Region, and is part of the Prealps. The city of Trento and the Adige Valley is on the eastern slopes, and the upper parts of the Sacra Valley and Lake Grada is to the west.  Monte Bondone is part of the Prealps.

The Monte Bondone is often on the route of the Giro d'Italia road bicycle race and either passes through or finishes at the town of Vason, at the top of this mountain.  The ascent to the summit can be done by 3 routes.

Starting from Lasino, the Monte Bondone is 23.7 km. 1203 meter elevation gain, and average grade of 5.1%. Starting from Trento, the ride is 21.5 km long, with a 1463 meter gain, and average grade of 6.8%. And starting from Aldeno, it is 22.5 km, 1445 meter elevation gain, and 6.4% average grade.


Monte Bondone Bike Climb from the town of Aldeno

Monte Bondone From Aldeno Bike Climb



Bike Tour Profile of Monte Bondone from riding from Aldeno

Monte Bondone is a great ride in the Trento Province of the Trentino Alto Adige Region.  The ride up from the town of Aldeno is an excellent challenge and each year part of the classic Charle Gaul Granfondo.  Located on the northwestern side of Monte Bondone this ride is 22 km long on well paved roads that can be busy on some sections.  

Monte Grappa | Prealps


Monte Grappa, Italy

Monte Grappa (1,775 m) is a mountain of the Venetian Prealps in Veneto, Region Italy. It lies between the Venetian plain to the south and the central alpine areas to the North. To the west, it is seperated from theAsiago Altopiano by the Brenta river,  to the east it is seperated from theCesen-Visentin Mountains by the Piave river. To the north is Corlo lake and Feltre valley. In the past, the mountain was called Alpe Madre (Mother Alp), and is currently divided into three provinces: Vicenza Province to the west, Treviso Province to the south and Belluno Province to the northeast. It is the highest peak of a small massif, which is characterized by many other peaks such as Col Moschin, Colle della Berretta, Monte Asolone, Monte Pertica, Prassolan, Monti Solaroli, Fontana Secca, Monte Peurna, Monte Santo, Monte Tomatico, Meatte, Monte Pallon and Monte Tomba.

Monte Grappa was created by the collision between the African and European lithospheric plates. During the geological eras, these sediments have been interested by a cement fixation and then they were lifted up by these pressures that caused the Alpine mountain range to rise. Nowadays, the main types of rocks found on the Grappa are:

  • The Grey Limestones: the oldest formation, comprising the biggest part of the massif: it is found on the cliff faces. Its calcareous composition has caused such an expanded karst phenomenon that brought to light a lot of caves full of stalactites, deep wells and wonderful galleries;
  • the Rosso Ammonitico: with its calcareous origin, it forms the amazing “cities of stone” situated in the Poise and Meda Valleys;
  • the Biancone: we can find this calcareous rock on Cima Grappa, on and near the villages of Borso and Semonzo;
  • the Red Flake: a clayish limestone that is the raw material used to make cement.
  • Furthermore, during the centuries, different external atmospheric agents have modified the morphological structure of the Grappa massif:
  • the glaciers, which are responsible of the Brenta and Piave rivers' high valleys and of the secondary valleys moulding. They also caused the formation of the glacial cirques near Cima Grappa;
  • the creeks, which exist only in case of heavy and persistent rain. Because of the ample inclines of the beds, their erosive action has certainly been efficient and it can condone the asperities of the valley faces.
  • The karst phenomenon, that is really expanded in the Massif. In fact, there are a lot of caves and wells, sinkholes and swallow holes, the absence of streams and sources at high altitudes, and the "cities of stone".

As the mountain is located at the edge if the Venetian plains, its climate is often influenced by extremely variable weather conditions, with precipitation likely throughout the year. A theater of war during WW1 and to a lesser extent, during WW2, the mountain is known to most Italians for the Military shrine on the summit, containing a Museum on the Great War (‘Museo della Grande Guerra’). Also well known is the sanctuary known as ‘Sacello della Madonna Ausiliatrice’, inaugurated in 1901 (also known as ‘Madonna del Grappa’). During WW1, after the Italian defeat at Caporettoin 1917, the summit became the main point of the Italian defensive system; the Austrians tried on several occasions to conquer it, in order to gain access to the Venetian plains. During the conflict they dug several tunnels, trenches and other fixed poistions in the rock. Along the Mt Grappa summit from Monte Valderoa to the Colle Caprile the Italian defenses could dominate and control all activities along the front from as far as the distant Montello.

During WW2 the mountain saw the activity of several partisan formations operating in the area, and various dramatic events ensued, both on the mountain itself and in the nearby town of Bassano del Grappa. The ‘Sacrario militare del Monte Grappa’ (military shrine) is located on the summit, and was inaugurated in 1935; it is a landmark visible for several miles. In a nearby cave, is located the bronze monument to the partisan ("Monumento al Partigiano"), created by the famous sculptor from Falcade, Augusto Murer.






Monte Grappa Bike Climb from Sermanzo


Bike Tour Italy, Monte Grappa

BIKE TOURING Monte Grappa: One of the best middle mountains climbs in the Prealps of the Veneto, route 2 bike climb is from Semonzo, in Borso del Grappa (TV).    This road is called the 'Giardino Road' (strada Giardino) and is a 20 km ride with a medium grade of 8%, the max grade encountered is 14%. The road was Built in 1918 for General Giardino, Commander of the Grappa Army Group and was originally 5.50 meters wide and was used as an alternative for moving troops and supplies quickly to the front. The strada Giardino was built because the Cadorna road was exposed to enemy fire at some points.

(If you are riding the 10 route challenge you get your Stamp at Locanda TILLY's.)

Riding up to Monte Grappa starting from the village of Sermanzo is one of the climbs used in the 2010 Giro d'Italia.  For years these rides have been seen as an end of season goals, ultra-challenging climb days, and training grounds for the upper elevations. 


  • TURN 20 TO 1360 METERS
  • 1360 METERS TO TURN 28



SECTION 1: On the main road you will see the brown tourist sign to Cima Grappa, this is your key word sign for the entire ride.  The climb officially starts at the church of Semanzo and for the next 6 to 7 km you will be riding in the woods and conquering switch backs.  It is very important not to push hard during this first section.  Average grade is around 8% and you will work your way up to turn 20.

Bike Touring Italy, Monte Grappa

Many of the right hand turns offer you a great view of the Vicenza Plain and in the distance you can see the Euganei and Berici Hills.

Bike Tour Italy, Monte Grappa

This part of the mountain is popular for para-sailing, the steepness of mountain and warm winds from the sea gives gliders a great up-lift.

Bike Tour Italy, Monte Grappa

Turn 20 marks the end of the first section.  Keep in mind that if you are running low on water, stop at the Restaurant 'Deltapiano' (around 890 meters) to fill up otherwise you will run into problems later.

SECTION 2: This section will help you make up some time, but it also has one of the hardest sections at 14%.


At turn 21 you will continue right following the white Cima Grappa sign.

Bike Tour Italy, Monte Grappa

There are a few short down hill sections and you pass through two rock tunnels. Both very short and but look out for descending rides or cars. 

Bike Tour Italy, Monte Grappa

From Malga Campocroce to the 1360 meter you encounter the hardest section of the climb, a 2 to 3 km stretch with an average grade of 10% and one section of 14%.

SECTION 3: At 1360 meters you crest a small rise and finaly get to see the top of the climb.  From here there is a short down hill and contour before working your way up the last wall of the climbs.  In the valley below you can spot the Piave River and the Asolo hills. 

Bike Tour Italy, Monte Grappa

You Can See The Top!!

Bike Tour Italy, Monte Grappa

From turn 26 to 28 is your last grind with a couple of 11% sections.

Bike Tour Italy, Monte Grappa

The end of the climb.  Once you round the turn there is a short ramp that intersects with the main route where you can descend or turn right and continue another 1 km to the summit.  The last section to the summit very ride-able at 7%.  At the top there is a Refugio where you can grab a bit to eat before you continue your adventure.

Monte Grappa Bike Climb Descending to Seren del Grappa 


Monte Zoncolan From Ovaro Bike Climb


Monte Zoncolan is located in the Friuli Venezia Region of Italy.  Just north of the town of Udine is Tomezzo, a cross roads type village at the start of the Julian Dolomites and Alps.  Mt. Zoncolan sits just to the northwest of the town, Tomezzo is the best location for a bike touring base.

The Monte Zoncolan bike climb, starting from Ovaro, Udine, is considered one of the hardest bike routes utilized in Gran Tours, in Europe, if not the hardest. I have road almost all the Italian climbs, and I would agree, that Zoncolan is not a climb to take lightly regardless your fitness level and is a must ride for those you like to ride uphill. The climb has a 6 km section with grades continuously greater than14%, that will challenge you as a rider.   If you are a rider that gets excited at the challenge of extending your limits the Zoncolan is a perfect platform. 

Suggested gears; you should have at least a compact with a 29 in the rear or use a triple.  For riders of less fitness having a Sram "Apex", is not a bad selection the 32 can come in handy especially if you are planning a week riding the classic climbs.  What makes a difference on this climb are the total km you have ridden to arrive to the base, the standard loop from Tolmezzo is 84 km, with 37 km being done to arrive a the base.


REGION Friuli Venezia Region
PROVINCE Udine Province
CITY Tomezzo
LENGTH 10.5 km
START ELEVATION 525 meters a.s.l.
MAX ELEVATION 1735 meters a.s.l.
ELEVATION GAIN 1210 meters
Cycle-tourist - 2 hr
Semi Pro - 1:30 hr
Pro - 1 hr

Monte Zoncolan


Monte Zoncolan


Monte Zoncolan

Turning right in Ovaro (coming from Tomezzo) you start the climb and the first km is at an average grade of 11.5% until you pass the church of the Camine.  From here the route lessens to 6.8% until the township of Liariis where you will turn right following the Monte Zoncolan (brown) sign. From here you have a flat section to prepare yourself for the challenge ahead.

Monte Zoncolan

Pass through the small village and as you round the curve coming out of the last houses you will be at the ramp starting the "salita della'inferno" now being translated at the Hell Climb.  There is a water fountain on the left side of the road to refill if you have yet to do so.· Do not do this climb with out water, you may have a hard time getting the bottle out to drink but you will need water.  The next 6 km is some of the hardest climbing I have done on a road bike, from 657 meters elevation to 1049 meters the grade is all above 15%, then a 200 meter rest at 8% you return to above 15% with a ramp of 20% at the 1300meter elevation.

Monte Zoncolan

During you climb you have the hero's of cycling to keep you company. Marking the distance are signposts with champion riders from the Giro d'Italia.  At the 1569 meter elevation mark the extreme part of the climb ends and the remaining sections are manageable.

Monte Zoncolan

Just over the 9 km mark at 1639 meters elevation you will come to the first of three tunnels. They are not lighted by you can see through, they are only wide enough of a small car so if one is coming toward you stop and wait for they to clear the tunnel.

Monte Zoncolan

The last short ramp after the tunnel is a nice serpentine road with grades averaging 10% to the top, but here you can see the top you are now in a lower alpine environment with wonderful views. There is often wind at the summit so dress according and carry a jacket even in the summer.

Monte Zoncolan

At the top you will find a sculpture to cyclist and the sign for the saddle of Monte Zoncolan, 1750 meters above sea level.  The best descent is on the opposing side, the road is two lanes and modern to service the ski resort.  Watch for cars during the descent. 

Monti Col Nudo-Cavallo | Prealps


monti col nudo

Southeast of the Alpago, on the borders of the provinces of Treviso, Udine, and Belluno, are the "Cansiglio" the Mountain of Vittorio Veneto, an impressive plateau at an altitude of more than 1 ,000 meters and covered by a large forest.Near the center of the plateau is a large clearing with several modern hotels and a golf course. It is reached by the road that goes from Vittorio Veneto through Fregna to Alpago. Climbing on this road from the plain, at the beginning of the forest, after the community of Crosetta (1120 m.) to the left, over a good paved road, one can reach the panoramic area of Monte Pizzoc (1,570 m.). There is modern tow equipment for winter sports in Cansiglio, which is also very popular because it is near the plain. The chain of Pre-Alps continues toward the west, from S'ella di Fadalto, with Col Visentin (1,774 m.), which can be reached directly by a new road from Vittorio Veneto. On the other side of the mountain another scenic road climbs from Belluno to Nevegal, where you will find a ski resort with runs on the highest peaks of the mountain.

Monti Soligo | Prealps


monti solgio

From Col Visentin the chain descends gently to Passo di San Boldo, which is crossed by a very steep road that penetrates a narrow gorge with tunnels drilled through the rock to reach Val Belluna directly from the Trevisan plain.  The "border" ridge between the two provinces rises from Passo di San Boldo to Col del Moi and descends to Passo di Praderiidego, which is reached by a road from Lentiai. Finallyit climbs again toward the west to the mountains of Valdobbiiidene that culminate in Monte Cesen (1,569 m.).A road 12 kilometers long climbs from Valdobbiiidene to the plateau of Pianezze (1,070 m.), where a chair lift goes to the peak of Monte Barbariii (1.464 m.), a winter-sports resort with vast snow­fields and modern tow equipment that can be reached in less than one hour from Venice.

Travel Planning for Monti Soligo, Italian Prealp


Passo Campogrosso | Piccolo Dolomites | Prealps


Passo Campogrosso, Dolomites

Passo Campogrosso in the Piccolo Dolomites, sits at 1457 meters a.s.l. in the Vicenza Province of the Veneto Region.  The Passo Campogrosso is just before the regional border between the Veneto Region and Trentino Alto Adige Region, and separates the Carega Mountain and Mount Cornetto, which are part of the Piccolo Dolomites, the southern most section of the Italian Dolomites.

The Pass is a great start point for mountain walks and rides, in fact Friedrich Nietzsche wondered these mountains while staying in Recoaro Terme.  The stimulated his writing creativity to produce 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra'-

As far as landscape is concerned, Recoaro is one of my most beautiful experiences. I literally chased after its beauty, and expended a great deal of energy and enthusiasm on it. The beauty of nature, like every other kind of beauty, is quite jealous; it demands that one serve it alone.
    —Friedrich Nietzsche, Letter to Heinrich Köselitz, June 23, 1881

The area is well known for its mineral water, and a spa for health and recovery was established there in the late 1600's, the road leading up to Passo Campogrosso is only on one side.  The road was built by Italian military during the Frist War World to move supplies up to the fortifications. 

Passo Campogrosso, Dolomites


You can only reach Passo Campogrosso from the Veneto side.  The closest train is in Schio, where you can get a bus up to Recoaro Terme, also in Vicenza there is a bus to Valdagno and then Recoaro Terme.  Then you will have to walk up to the pass. You can also take a bus from Rovereto to Passo Pian di Fugazze.

If you are bicycle touring the area you can reach Passo Campogrosso by riding from Schio, Pian di Fugazzo, Passo Xomo, or from Rovereto.  This is a great place to start an Italian Dolomites tour or early and late season rides, and the Lessini Mountain groups and wine roads of the Veneto

If you are cycling you can reach the pass from
Recoaro Terme
If you are hiking it is best to stay at the Rifugio in Passo Campogrosso or Pain di Fugazze

Passo Di S. Barbara from Arco Bike Climb


Nice climb just north of Lake Grade that takes you up to a lovely panaromic point over the Sarca Valley. 

passo di s barbara

FINISH POINT Passo Santa Barbara
LENGHT 13 km
START ELEVATION 113 meters a.s.l.
MAX ELEVATION 1179 meters a.s.l.
ELEVATION GAIN 1000 meters
TIME TO RIDE 1 hour 20 minutes

Prealps Mountains of Italy



The Prealps are a group of mountains in the Veneto Region, Lombardy Region, and Friuli Venezia Region of Italy. These mountains were formed by the same plate movement that created the Alps, but since the Italian Dolomites had already been formed, the naming of the group became the Prealpi, or first part of the Alps. The Prealps, are the mountains a traveler sees as they cross the main train lines fro Milano to Venezia, and the unique eco zone that has been created because you can move from just below sea level to 2000 meter (more than 6000 ft in less than 30 kms). These mountains have been home to refugee's during invasions and utilized to develop trade goods for thousands of years.




MT. LESSINIA- A small group of mountains that is made up of the mountain formations of Pasubio, Cornetto, Carega, and Tre Croci . The area is best know as the front for the WWI and the Thermal resort of Recoaro. Today it the area still has an important textile industry along the Valstanga river and the remaining are small farms and hiking areas.

ALTOPIANI ASIAGO- The community of 7 towns sets on a plateau above the city of Vicenza. Well know for Asiago cheese, cross country skiing, and relaxed mountain atmosphere. A unique zone of the Italy.

MONTE GRAPPA- Mt. Grappa sits above Bassano del Grappa the once small commune that sits on Valstanga and the Brenta river. The mountain was one of the sites for the First World War and in modern times has become one of the classic bicycle climbs of the Italia biking folklore.

MT. SOLIGO - The Soligo Mountain Group is off the beaten path of most, but the foothills include the Processo hills and other wine zones. The area is not as well developed for hiking, but there are any classic bike routes in the area.

COL NUDO CAVALLO - This range runs from the south near Vittorio Veneto to the north past Belluno to Longarone. The peaks average 2000 meters and offers good cross country skiing.

CLAUTANI - In the Friuli region these hills are very remote and at one time this upper plateau was a separate nation.

CORNAGET CASERINA - Like the Calutani group this area is under developed and not as frequented as other parts of the Dolomites.

PREALPI GIULIE - These are the hills running from Gemone to Gorizia and the Isonzo river.

MONTE BALDO- The chain of Monte Baldo extends between the Adige and Lake Garda. Because of its position in isolation from other mountains, extending toward the -plain, and dominating the lake, it offers exceptional views. At its feet and on its slopes covered with woods and meadows are many summer-vacation resorts. Vast snowfields are waiting to be opened to skiers. In the zone of Tratto Spino there are very popular snowfields served by the Malcesine cableway; in the zone of Costabella there is modern tow equipment (chair lifts and a cabin lift).


Punta Veleno from Brenzone Bike Climb


Bike Touring Italy's Punto Veleone

For those bike touring Italy and looking for the extreme Punta Veleno has quicky become one of the epic bike climbs and part Italy's, extreme bike climbing grade cult.  Located above the town of Brenzone, Verona, along the eastern shore of Lage Garda, the 'Punta Veleno' climb takes you up the western slope of Monti Baldo.  The climb was given it's named by one time Giro d'Italia director Vicenzo Torriani.  Torriani was scouting routes for the 1972 Giro d'Italia and dismissed using the route because it was ' troppo velenosa', (to sick of a climb).   The climb has never been included in the Giro d'Italia, but was included as part of the Giro Trentino in 2012.  The climb has been part of several mountain bike events and the fastest time seems to be around 50 minutes. 


REGION Veneto Region
PROVINCE Verona Province
START POINT Benezone, Verona
LENGTH 10.4 km
START ELEVATION  75 meters a.s.l.
MAXIMUM ELEVATION 1,152 meters a.s.l.
ELEVATION GAIN  1,091 meters

COMPAC with 13-29 or Triple

If rains say seated roads are very steep and you slip if standing up.

Bike Touring Italy's Punta Veleno

Many cyclist considers this climb much harder than Monte Zoncolan. Most of the road is one lane and not always well paved, at one time it was a military road up to fortifications that separated Italy from the Austria Hungarian Empire. 

Turning off the main road you have a short ramp of 400 meters of 12%, but this drops off quickly as you pass through a small urban area.  After 2 km the road turns up and will continue to challenge the legs for the next 6 km. At this point the road narrows and there starts to twist its way up the side of Monti Baldo.  There are 15 switchbacks to work your way through, with an average grade of 17%. 

A the top you will pass through a high point of 1152 meters and began a descent toward the town of Prada.  Careful on the first few km's, the descent is not technical but steep and narrow. 

Bike Touring Italy's Punta Veleno


The Punta Veleno bike route has gotten very popular in the past two years, there is now a sign posting the start of the climb.  Show above is the sign as you ride down the lake from Malcesina.  As soon as you make the turn you have a ramp with an average of 12% to work through. Then there is a short rest before you hit the wall that never seems to end.

Bike Touring Italy's Punta Veleno


From the 3 km to the 7 km marks is the heart of the climb and the beast to work through, a steady average of 15% and above will let you know you are alive.  For me the key point was a 1400 meter stretch between turns 11 and 12 that averaged above 16%. But not to be discounted is the turn 16 where you will have a ramp of 21.5% to push through.  After the 6.5 Km mark the average drops to around 13% so you feel like you are resting.

Bike Touring Italy-s Punta Veleno


Once you pass the 8.5 km mark the climb is over you have a narrow road that leads you over to the town of Prada where you can descend back down to the lake.  For those whom love a challenge and want to really feel the climb this should be on your must climb list for Italy if you are in the area.

Valico della Fricca Mountain Bike Tour Prealps


Valico della Fricca, Prealps

Vallico della Fricca is a dirt track located in the Venetian Prealps, in the Vicenza Province, Veneto Region, connecting the Val d'Astico and Lavarone, in Trentino. The old road is a gravel route, now closed to cars, up to Centa San Nicolò. The road is tightly hair pinned winding mountain ride with sharp with blind curves and hairpin switchbacks leading you over the mountains.

This road is usually open all year, but during winter months, it can be closed when the access is not cleared of snow. In the winter, avalanches and heavy snowfalls can sometimes block some sections of the road and can be extremely dangerous in winter due to frequent patches of ice. Conditions can change quickly and be harsh, particularly during winter.

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