P19 Ai Forti Austriaci del TonaleAn easy but satisfying excursion to visit the old Austrian forts of World War 1, Saccarana and Mero. Both have been recently restored for tourists. It takes a circular route through fields full of alpine flowers, with wildlife and amazing views.
Wooden indicators and SAT signs Difficult:
Mid-length walk with little difficulty Difference:
100m to the Saccarana Fort, 142m from the Mero Fort to the end of the walk. Duration:
1 hour to the Saccarana Fort, 2 hours to the Mero Fort, 3 hours total (without stops) Recommended period:
June to October
To get to the start of the walk:
At Passo Tonale, to the left of the ticket office “biglietteria”, take the off-road track to Malga Cadì and the Ospizio S.Bartolomeo (ancient hospice and refuge for pilgrims, now partly converted to the hotel Mirandola)
Alternatively, at the bottom of the Valbiolo chairlift “Seggiovia Tonale-Valbiolo”, take the road to the right of it which has a sign for the Hotel Mirandola. This is the easier route by car.Either of these routes on foot will take approximately 30-40minutes.
Park just after the hotel. At the first bend after the Ospizio/Hotel Mirandola take the path along the flat marked Forte Saccarana or Zaccarana bound eastwards. Follow the signs off to the left up through fields of rhododendrons and alpine flowers, inhabited by marmots and deer, to the fort (2080m – around 1 hour). Along the way you will have great views onto the peaks of Presanella, Busazza, Presena and Castellaccio. The imposing fort has been restored and part of it made open to the public (not always open, check first). There are picnic tables outside. Past the Fort, near the mouth of the valley, take a right turn (marked Vermiglio and Masi di Strino). This path leads downhill through woodland to the ruins of the “Caserme di Strino” (around 45 minutes from the Saccarana Fort). Keeping to the main track on the right, you come out at another path which you take to the right to Forte Mero and on to Tonale. This Fort (1838m-2 hours from the beginning of the walk), although semi-ruined has also been restored for visitors with picnic tables and is surrounded by a pleasant larch and fir wood.
Continuing on the main track slightly uphill for another 40 minutes you reach the beginning of the walk (total length around 3 hours).