The Chestnut Trail (Keschtnweg in German) is a wonderful 60 km long route through the chestnut woods of the Isarco Valley, from the Abbey of Novacella in Bressanone to Roncolo Castle in Bolzano. Beautiful in every season, it is particularly fascinating in autumn when the leaves and meadows change colour. The trail can be divided into four stages, all of which are well signposted, leading through ancient chestnut groves and colourful broadleaf trees along ancient paved roads, where here and there are small farmsteads where you can stop to taste and buy typical regional products and, why not, spend the night to leave the next day for the next stage or return to the starting point.
The Chestnut Path, which is particularly popular during the Törggelen period, is also easily accessible by public transport to the various starting points of the itinerary.
The stages of the Chestnut Trail
1st stage: from Novacella to Feldthurns/Velturno
The start of the first stage is near the car park of the Novacella Abbey, where you will find one of the best wine cellars in the Isarco Valley. This route is 16 km long and along the way you can admire three characteristic little churches. From the Abbey you first reach Varna, then continue through the woods following the Spelcona stream and, still following the signposts, after about 5 hours you reach Velturno.
2nd stage: from Velturno to Barbiano
From the castle of Feldthurns/Velturno, which is well worth a visit, follow the signposted road through chestnut forests, orchards and open fields to the Wetterkreuz, a vantage point with wonderful views. If you wish, you can stop off at the medieval town of Klausen: the descent offers a unique view of the town. And then reach Barbiano, after about 6/7 hours of walking.
3rd stage: from Barbian to Leitach
The third stage starting in Barbiano proceeds through picturesque landscapes and mixed forests, accompanied by the Gonderbach stream with its waterfall. The trail passes the village of Saubach, Longostagno and climbs up to the Ritten high plateau. Continue along the Finsterbach valley to the Atzwanger Aussicht viewpoint and on to the village of Leitach. Approx. 5h walk.
4th stage: from Leitach to Bolzano
This last stage starts in Leitach and after a 5-hour walk takes you to Roncolo Castle, past the ruins of Castelpietra, Auna di Sotto on the Renon with its characteristic earth pyramids, and the St. Oswald Promenade.
How to get to the Chestnut Path
If you want to walk the whole route, you can reach the Abbey of Novacella:
- By car: A22 Brennero motorway, Chiusa-Val Gardena exit and follow the signs for Varna (SS242d)
- By train: Bressanone arrival station, where all Eurocity and Intercity trains on the Verona - Brenner route stop. From the station there are connections to the surrounding areas.
- By plane: Verona Villafranca (190 km) and Innsbruck (85 km) Bergamo, Verona, Venice and Treviso are connected to South Tyrol by shuttle bus.