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Viel del Pan

Category: Route

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Walks and Via Ferrata in the Dolomites

The Viel del Pan path [n.601] runs along the side of a chain of low green hills. The path is called the Bread Road because it was once used by grain smugglers to avoid taxes imposed by the Venetian Republic.

The walk starts above the Fassa Valley at the Passo Pordoi on the ss48 and runs east along the side of the hills. It passes the Refuge Viel del Pan, whose terrace has marvellous views of the Marmolada Glacier.

During the First World War the Austrian-Hungarian soldiers built twelve kilometres of tunnels and bunkers inside the glacier. This City of Ice was built in eleven months [May 1916 to April 1917]. Inside the City of Ice there were dormitories, kitchens and ammunition stores. The glacier gave some protection from Italian shell fire but avalanches killed many soldiers. The glacier is constantly moving, and in 1918 it was abandoned and disappeared.

After a few miles the path starts to slope down the hill towards the Lago di Fedaia. Before it gets there you should turn north on a path which leads to Refuge Porta Vescovo. From there you can catch the lift down to Arabba, and from Arabba you can get a bus back to your starting point at Passo Pordoi.

Alternatively, you can start your hike from Arabba and walk from Refuge Porta Vescovo to Passo Pordoi. From the pass you can walk back down the winding road to Arabba.

Further information – Shorter Walks in the Dolomites by Gillian Price. Published by Cicerone , UK. ISBN 1-85284-351-9.