I’d always been mildly intrigued about doing a Via Ferrata in Italy. I’d seen incredible photos and videos on the internet of people doing them and lazily wondered what it would be like to do one.
Thet mild intrigue soon turned into trepidation once we booked ourselves onto an actual Via Ferrata in Garda Trentino – more specifically, the Ferrata Colodri on Monte Colodri.
For the uninitiated, a Via Ferrata (which translates from Italian into English as “Iron Path”) is a protected climbing route on a mountain, where you basically scale said-mountain, while strapping yourself to the cable (fixed to the mountain) for safety.
It was apparently invented by the Italian army in the Dolomites (part of which are also in Trentino) during WW1 as a way to scale previously inaccessible mountain peaks.
Oddly my trepidation wasn’t even because of a fear of heights, instead, it was from a fear of ‘exercise’. 😆 I just remembered wondering if I was up to the challenge of scaling a mountain almost vertically up.
Like, I could do a hike with a steep incline (I’d moan about it the ENTIRE time but I could) but trying to climb up a (relatively) sheer cliff like this was pretty new to me.
The initial walk up the mountain to the start of the cabled path did nothing to ease my nerves as I trudged up the slightly steep path to the based of the mountain.
My thighs were already starting to ache before we even started the whole thing but it turns out, I had nothing to worry about!
Ferrata Colodri is actually not the hardest Via Ferrata but as it turns out, with Via Ferratas you probably need more of an ability to cope with heights than you do any real/extreme mountain climbing skills.
My trepidation was very quickly replaced with fun and enthusiasm as we made our way to the top of Monte Colodri, stopping every so often to appreciate the view!
I think, without a doubt, this was the most fun I’ve ever had climbing a mountain! It was absolutely brilliant and had me raring to try my hands at another Via Ferrata come summer time.
Up at the top, you still have a small walk to get to the highest point but for this bit, you don’t need the cable or harness and can just hike up as per normal.
You aren’t hiking for nothing – at the top, once you get past the rather amusing sight of goats up in the mountains (kinda did a double take when I saw the first one), you get amazing views over the countryside, as well as an opportunity to rest up, relax and perhaps even fill up on snacks before making your way back down.
The hike down was pretty easy and rather than go the way we came, we went through the regular hiking path, down through the village and eventually coming out at Arco…
…where we bade farewell to our instructor and went off in search of lunch.
Lunch was in one of those places where, if the locals (or a very knowledgeable friend) didn’t tell you about it, you’d probably never really think to visit.
It’s a place high up in the mountains, in a tiny village and is called Agritur Calvola.
Having worked up quite an appetite from our exercise that morning, we tucked into way more food than we usually would and probably should. 😀
Carne Salada (remember from this post here?), other cured meats and side salads started things off…
…before we dipped into grilled ribs, beef, fries, pasta, dumplings and polenta for our mains. (I told you it was a lot of food).
For dessert, I went for a simple apple sorbet as even before this, I was sooooo full from all the other stuff at lunch! It’s like one of those things where you go shopping hungry, buy everything your eyes on in the store and slowly realise it was just plain greedy by the time your hunger starts to dissipate (I could barely stand up by the time we were done with lunch… and I wonder why my trousers are struggling to fit me. 😄).
I tried to walk off the lunch with a quick jaunt around the village, finding some rather cute residents at the farmhouse Agritur Calvola is based in.
The village is like stepping back in time and is again one of those quaint places worth popping by on your way through the countryside here.
Oh, another spot worth checking out is the absolutely picturesque medieval village called Canale di Tenno which looks like something out of a postcard! We actually didn’t get to visit (we saw photos later) and wished we had!
Instead, we were distracted by the nearby Lago di Tenno, a picturesque blue lake that looks like it belongs somewhere in the middle of Canada or somewhere in the middle of the Alps.
I have no idea why the lake is that colour but boy is it a beauty to behold!
The funny thing is close up, it’s actually so clear and makes you wanna take a dip in it to cool off. (Don’t be fooled by the fog – it was a swelteringly hot day).
Leaving the lake, there was one other spot we had to check out before dinner and that place was Cascata Varone – an almost hidden waterfall in between the mountains.
See the waterfall isn’t really hidden, it’s just not so obvious that it’s there if you were driving past and didn’t know anything about it. You can’t hear it from the road or anything and it is really when you park up and walk to the entrance that you start to hear it (albeit faintly).
Close up though, once you weave through the windy path leading to it, it’s absolutely impressive!
Though perhaps even more so from the top, where you can see how it cascades down the mountain.
By the way, perhaps take a poncho or a raincoat with you as you can get pretty wet here! (Again, it was hot so I was more than grateful for the chance to cool off – and you don’t really get so wet that it’s uncomfortable, just a tad soaked if you stand next to it for too long).
We eventually bade Cascata Varone, farewell and headed down the road to Acetaia for dinner.
Acetaia is a family farm which makes its food directly from ingredients grown in the farm with locally sourced goodies to make up for what they don’t actually grow in the farm.
I started off with a side salad and prosciutto, which Lloyd went for the Carne Salada.
For mains, gigantic gnocchi for me and the steak for Lloyd…
…before finishing things off with Pannacotta!
And that’s it! The very next day we’d be off back home to London, ironically, the very next day the sunshine came out properly and the fog disappeared completely but Trentino (and it’s beautiful Lake Garda) had once again left us feeling thoroughly impressed and eager to come back and do it all over again. 😀