Among the pines and the larches and along secluded trails. Enjoy the warmth of a sauna and dinner in the stube. From the Valley of Casies, the Lake of Braies, in the holiday in south Tyrol in November, has a completely different flavor
Walk around and listen. The soft steps on the fallen leaves and stones. The sound of the drops on the ground and on the branches. And, at every step, breathe. The fresh air of rain and moss. That releases all the smells. A fragrance of damp fills the nostrils. Has hints of pine needles, wet mushrooms. Resin that comes from the bark peeled off. Proceed in the woods, all is quiet along the wilderness trail. And waits for a secret which can be unveiled. The firs give way to open meadows. A grazing light caresses the rolling pastures, the shapes of the trees, the profile of the Alps. The Valle di Casiesin south Tyrol, lies surrounded by mountains on three sides. From the village of Welsberg and from the Val Pusteria, a road runs up to Santa Maddalena, and the Alps Defregger. Here and there you can see some farm renovated that maintains the original architecture. A size of the rural area. And in the margins, footpaths and cycle paths wind through the conifers, golden autumn. To reach the Castel Welsperg that appears from the fog, the natural Kneipp path to the pyramids Rudlbach (tracks 41 and 55), the Rienz river and the slender streams under the wooden bridges. In this place, quiet even in high season, where few arrive, if not in search of peace and slopes to the bottom, you appreciate how much the ring of the lake of Dobbiaco, the woods of firs and larches, and just before the winter sleep, loads of conditioners, colors, sounds, among which you find that it is nice to walk. Even if the air becomes pungent. Even if the sun warms just in the central hours.
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In south Tyrol, the magic of autumn
South Tyrol in the fall: on the trails of the Valle di Casies
The heat between the vapors of the infinity pool (30 degrees) of the Alpen Tesitin, wellness resort Taisten, from which we observe the Peak of Valandro, the Cristallo and Piz Popena blush when the sun goes down; a plate of risotto with chanterelles with cheek braised and mousse of parmesan cheese, which is served in the restaurant, with seats in grey cloth; in a tub in the glow of the fire in the fireplace of Chalet Wiesenglück, in the village of Valle di Casies, welcomed with the sweet smell of pine and fir, the fur on the bench in the veranda. While it is raining outside, here time stops. And it’s a small luxury to linger in the laziness of a hot bath with honey, or with herbs of the mountain. “We want to make you rediscover the taste of doing nothing,” jokes the owner Ulrich Pichler. Be in tune with nature, freeing the mind and having time to read, sleep, relax. “But we also hire a bike pedal assisted and invite you to do the walk to the “giro delle Malghe 2000, a trip to miss,” added Pichler. The trekking fills a day (should bring a packed lunch, because in November the huts close) and show the best of an idyllic valley. Here, everything seems to speak of fresh butter, bread and compotes, home-made tastes authentic and healthy life. You climb from the Santa Maddalena , and we walk on the forest path 48 reaches the malga tscharnietalm turn-off. And then again, at a slow pace, touching the Kaseralm and the Stumpfalm, the valley of the Pfoi , and the hut Uwaldalm, up to the hiking path 12, which descends steeply through the woods up to the starting point.
Less challenging on the climb up to malga Aschtalm, 1,950 meters altitude, to be managed by Hubertus and Julia Steinmair, who live here with their daughters Laura and Lisa. Breed specimens of Hereford, an English breed of cattle that graze freely in the summer and feed on hay after the transhumance. “We specialize in the production of meat, only from adult animals, hung for at least three months. My philosophy has intrigued even the chef Massimo Bottura,” says Hubertus. When the hut closes after all saints ‘ day, only reigns the silence. “It reaches those who seek the peace of the nature”. The same which reigns, unexpectedly, on the banks of the Braies lake, the most famous of the Val Pusteria, 25 km from Brunico, between Villabassa and Monguelfo.
Excursions on the lake of Braies in the autumn
After the inscription of the Dolomites heritage Unesco (2009) and the notoriety which arrived from the fiction Rai 1, just a step from heaven (the fifth season is airing until mid-November), the number of visitors here has started to record impressive figures, with peaks of over eight thousand people daily (data from the Corriere del Veneto), which have led this year to closure of the road from July to September, and that suggest the introduction of a number planned for next season. In the late autumn, however, the crowd seems a distant memory. And you will enjoy the lake of Braies in solitude.
It is nice to get there on foot, from the village of Ferrara, walking in the woods along the path number one, which is dedicated to the alpinist Viktor Wolf Edler von Glanvell, among the first at the end of the Nineteenth century, to have climbed the ridges and the walls of the Dolomites of Braies. The lake appears to be wrapped in mist, framed by the fir trees and the majestic mountains of the Twelve Apostles. The deserted shores. The top of the seekofel , swallowed by the low clouds. It rains just a little, the colours are darker. And the landscape has something magical. The mirror of water, the emerald lights of the flashes turquoise when the light makes its way through the fog. The boats wooden rowing are moored in a row under the stilts. Perhaps inspired by such a spectacle, a legend of the ladin tells that in the nights of the full moon, Dolasilla and her sister Lujanta, princesses of the mythology the local people of the Fanes, who was imprisoned in the abyss, come forth from the door of the Croda del Becco (Sas dla Porta, in the ladin language, not a case) on a boat. Await the trumpet blasts announce the rebirth of their lost kingdom.
The trails in the Val Forest, and to Pra della Vacca
At the foot of the massif, flame the larches: mark the beginning of the path 19 , which enters the Val Forest. The walk, in fact, may continue quiet on the path around the lake, but it is an emotion to divert along the path in the woods, among the pine trees by the trunk of the pale and thin and the views of the Black mount, up to malga Forest. The drizzle brings to the nose the moods of the wood and the wet earth after a dry period. A fragrance of the ancestral, that reconciles with nature, you can also give a name, petricore, coined by two australian scientists, Isabel Bear and Richard Thomas, who in the Sixties have studied the phenomenon. The trail 19 continues up to the Valley of the Larches and the malga High Kaser, with the conifers that stand out for the bark is rough and reddish, the branches some bare, others with crowns of needles no longer green, but yellow-gold. A dive in the woods to live alone, even if you take the forest from the lake of Braies halls, following the trail 20, up to the top of the Pra of the Cow, from where the view over the central Alps, and the Val Pusteria.
Walking from Prato Piazza to monte Species
“For a walk with a view on the Tre Cime di Lavaredo and the Pale Mountains, the alternative is the high plateau of Prato Piazza, inside the Natural Park Fanes-Sennes-Braies”, suggests Erwin Steiner, guide Globo Alpin, agency of Dobbiaco , which organises climbing and trekking in the Dolomites.
In journey to the center Bridge, the sun filters in the angular contact between the wispy clouds. And makes shine the rain drops hanging on the needles of the conifers. The path 37 and continues for six kilometres uphill between the trees, frame the winter of snowshoeing and excursions with ski mountaineering. For a trip more simple, you should park directly to the Prato Piazza, at an altitude of two thousand (accessible only till 10) and continue on foot towards the refuge of Dürrenstein and the top of the mountain Species. On the right, the Croda Rossa, with the veins on the vermilion of the dolomite and ferruginous, captures the eye. Warns Steiner: “A climb for experts, but a wild beauty. Up there, the silence is broken only by the roll of the pebble that bounces to the valley”. Going up, the landscape opens up, the cembran pines and dwarf pines give way to meadows imbionditi, plenty of snow in the middle of winter. You may catch sight of deer, marmots and ibex. But the meeting that you will not forget is with the mountains. Sitting next to the circular monument that lists the name of each top, you let your gaze rest on the profiles of the Crystal, the Three Peaks, the Monte Paterno and the Flat Top High. The rain has stopped and everything seems to be mirror-polished. The atmosphere is electric and sharp. An alpine chough blend the wings resting on the ground to rest. Before this show, beautiful, powerful, timeless, the soul seems to expand in all directions. “There, at the top of those cliffs, those vertical walls, there may only be a bird,” wrote Paul Grohmann on the eve of the climb to the Top of the Great that was done 150 years ago, with Franz innerkofler iron path and Peter Salcher. “I had in mind an initiative that remembering the history,” says the guide Erwin Steiner. And the idea was realized with the documentary The Cima Grande (in 2019) under the direction of Reinhold Messner: Steiner has contributed in the realization of the shooting.
South Tyrol in November: break to taste in Dobbiaco
The days are shorter, the cold begins to be felt. You return to the valley among the woods that surround the Saalerwirt, to San Lorenzo di Sebato. A farm with old rooms, a swimming pond, which overlooks the Spa where you do yoga in the morning, a restaurant. “In the kitchen we use the herbs of the garden, the meat of our production, the mushrooms collected out here,” says the owner, Bertha Tauber. A journey of taste which continues from Alpe Pragas, in Braies, manufacturers of compound and sophisticated, like the one at dogwood, a spontaneous fruit. Or Dairy Three Peaks, in Dobbiaco, where you buy the cheese Bar, excellent grilled.
The streets of the historic centre, from the 29th of November, will host, instead, for the first time a Christmas market gourmet, with houses inspired by the architectural style of the Grand Hotel Dobbiaco, the most characteristic monument. For dining, there is the Winkelkeller. You can taste the cream of porcini mushrooms, the dumplings in the broth and ends up falling asleep under a carpet of stars in the Skyview Chalet, houses in wood design with the roof fully glazed, in a camp on the lake of Dobbiaco.
Tip, tap. A tamburellio light drops is the alarm clock on the window in the morning. Outside the clouds gather in the sky. Wind between the pine trees blowing in the wind and roll down from the slopes of the Rocca dei Baranci, the “sleeping giant”. It starts to rain, just. You can smell the scent. It is time to exit.